q u i c k s ta rt k i t


one seven design

About This Quick Start PDF
This quick start gives you the basics so you can start playing Blades before
the final game is released. By definition, it's missing some pieces, particularly
some instructional text and examples as well as the full guide to Duskwall
city which will be in the final game. As such, it's a document that you'll
have to interpret and bolster with your own understanding of roleplaying
practices. If you're brand-new to RPGs, maybe ask a more experienced
friend to run this for you.
I'm so excited to share the complete game with you in November (plus all
the amazing add-ons you unlocked during the project). Until then, I hope
you can have fun playing with this incomplete shard.
If you have questions or want to give feedback, head over to the G+
Community:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/112767357581554417629

The people there are helpful and I'm usually on hand to answer questions,
too.
Please feel free to talk about the game online and share your experiences
from actual play. However, this PDF is for backers of the Blades in the
Dark kickstarter only, so please don't redistribute it. Thanks!

how to use the quick start
1. Read this whole document.
2. Print all the reference and character sheets (pages 27 through
39). You might want multiple copies of the Action & Effect
sheet (page 27).
3. Brief the group on what Blades in the Dark is all about, using
the Overview on the next page.
4. Give a summary of the situation the characters will find
themselves in for the Quick Start scenario, using the information
on page 4.
5. Create the player characters and the crew, using the instructions
on page 30 and page 37, respectively.
6. Follow the guidelines for starting the session on page 26. Ask
the players to choose a score to pursue, or create their own.
7. Start the first team operation by asking the group to choose a
plan type and provide a detail. Ask them who's on point, and
jump in to the action.
8. Now you're into regular play, as discussed in How to Use the
System (pages 16 through 18).
9. When a PC faces an obstacle or danger, they'll make an action
roll to resolve it. Consult page 11.

Attention Game Hackers

10. To see if they overcome the whole obstacle or danger (or if
there's more left to do) make an effect roll (page 12). When
they resist the effect of a threat, you also use an effect roll.

If you're excited to use this game as the basis for a hack or your own game
design, I'm glad to hear it! But be advised:

11. Continue with actions and effects (and teamwork moves) until
the operation is resolved or abandoned.

There will eventually be a CC-licensed, SRD kind of thing for Blades. This
is not it! So hold your horses on doing any kind of full-on supplements or
creating actual products or anything. That will come along once the full
game is launched. I know you're hyped to make stuff. Which is great! But
I'll have a more polished final version for you at launch later this year. In
the mean time, go ahead and toy around, just in moderation.

13. Once that's done, pick or create a new score, and start the cycle
over again.

Blades in the Dark is copyright ©2015 by John Harper
All rights reserved.
version beta 08b | 04.02.2015

12. After a score, the crew will attract heat (p. 29), earn coin
and hold through development (p. 29), and have some
breathing room (called downtime) in which to recover and
pursue personal projects (p. 21). The characters and crew
also earn XP for advancement (p. 20).

materials needed
At least 7 six-sided dice.
Printed character, crew, and
reference sheets.
Pencils and erasers.
Index cards and marker.
Printed Duskwall map and
Crow's Foot map.

number of players
3 or 4 players plus 1 GM is
recommended. 2 or 5 players
is okay.

overview
overview
“All the coin in the Empire is cold comfort when
a blade comes for you in the dark.”
—Bazso Baz
Some people like to get a big-picture overview of
a game; its premise, setting, characters, etc. before
diving in to all the details. So, here it is.

summary
You play scoundrels on the streets of Duskwall,
an industrial-fantasy city. There’s primitive
electrical technology, the printing press, strange
alchemy, and gunpowder weapons.
You and the other players create a fledgling
criminal enterprise—your crew—and then take
on illicit jobs to improve your assets and status.
Game play focuses on the moments of daring
action during a job (with occasional flashbacks
to planning sessions to improve teamwork).

touchstones

When you’re pitching the game to potential
players, here are some media touchstones you
can use to relate the game to stuff with which
they’re already familiar.
The video game Dishonored, by Arkane Studios.
The Vlad Taltos series of novels, by Steven Brust.
The stories of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, by
Fritz Leiber.
The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch.
The video game Thief: The Dark Project and its
sequels, by Looking Glass Studios.
The TV show The Wire, by David Simon et al.

theme song

“Furnace Room Lullaby” by Neko Case.

The Game

Blades in the Dark is a game about a group of daring
scoundrels building a criminal enterprise on the
haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There
are heists, chases, escapes, dangerous bargains,
bloody skirmishes, deceptions, betrayals, victories,
and deaths.
We’ll play to find out if the fledgling crew can thrive
amidst the teeming threats of rival gangs, powerful
noble families, vengeful ghosts, the bluecoats of the City
Watch, and the siren song of the scoundrel’s own vices.

The Setting

It is the year 847 of the Imperium which united the
shattered islands of the cataclysm under one rule—all
glory to his majesty the Immortal Emperor.
The unquiet spirits of the dead—free to roam the
world since the gates of death were shattered in
the cataclysm—prey on every living thing in the blasted
deadlands between cities.
The port of Duskwall, like every city-stronghold of the Imperium,
is encircled by crackling lightning-towers which create an electrical
barrier that spirits cannot pass. By law, all corpses are incinerated
with electroplasm (to destroy the spirit essence within). However,
wealthy citizens, heretics of the spirit cults, and the criminal element
often arrange for a spirit to escape destruction at the crematorium.
Rogue spirits and the illegal spirit essences derived from them are
rich trade for the black market.
The docks of Duskwall, on the cold, windswept northern tip of
Akoros, are home port for the titanic iron steamships of leviathan
hunters. The blood of those massive demons is the catalyst which
gives potency to the plasmic oils which power the city. The noble
elite make their fortunes from the fleets of leviathan hunters they
deploy on the ink-dark waters of the Never Sea.

The Characters

The scoundrels attempt to develop their crew from a ragtag group
of poor independents to a serious mid-level criminal organization

with established turf. They do this by taking illegal jobs from clients,
planning their own devious missions, making alliances, destroying
their enemies, and trying to stay one step ahead of the law.

The Players

Each player creates a scoundrel character and works with the other
players to create the crew to which their characters belong. Each
player strives to bring their PC to life as an interesting, daring,
conflicted fantasy adventure character who reaches boldly beyond
their current safety and means. The players decide as a group on
the tone and style of the game by making judgment calls about the
dice and actions, along with oversight from the GM.

The Game Master

The GM establishes the dynamic world around the characters,
especially the law-abiding civilian world and the shadowy criminal
underworld. The GM plays all the non-player characters in the
world by giving each one a concrete desire and preferred method
of action. They present opportunities to the PCs. Then they follow
the chain of action and consequences wherever it leads.

3

the
situation
the situation
This page describes the situation for the Quick Start. Give the
players this overview before going on to character and crew
creation. See page 26 for more details.

War in Crow's Foot

Your crew of thieves is caught up in a perilous (and possibly
profitable) situation in the Crow's Foot district.
Roric, the ward boss who ran the criminal operations in
Crow's Foot, has been killed. People say it was his second
in command, Lyssa, who did it. She now controls Roric's
impressive gang of cutthroats, who call themselves the Crows.
Can she establish dominance over the district the way Roric did?
When Roric died, the peace he had brokered between two
enemy gangs fell apart. The Lampblacks and the Red Sashes
have once again exploded into open war on the streets. Will
their old feud finally be resolved with bloodshed?
Your crew of thieves is poised to profit from all of this, or
be swept up in the chaos and destroyed. Who will you side
with? Do you have loyalties and friendships in the mix, or
are you detached outsiders coldly exploiting the situation?
We'll play to find out!

the lampblacks

ii

Originally an Iruvian school of swordsmanship, expanded
into criminal endeavors.

Turf: HQ in the office of a coal warehouse. Operates
a handful of brothels and cheap drug dens across the
district.

Turf: HQ in their sword-fighting school / temple.
Operates a handful of high-end drug dens across the
district.

NPCs: Bazso Baz (leader, charming, open, ruthless)

destroy
the red
sashes

Notable Assets: A fearsome gang of leg-breakers
and mayhem-makers. A number of smugglers on the
payroll who run their drugs.
Allies: The Fog Hounds, Gondoliers, Ironhook Prison.
Enemies: The Red Sashes, The Bluecoats, Cabbies.
Situation: The Lampblacks and the Red Sashes are at war over turf and
vengeance for deaths on both sides. Bazso Baz is recruiting every free
blade in the district for extra muscle and doesn't take no for an answer.
You're either with them or against them.

ii

the red sashes

The former lamp-lighter guild, turned to crime when their
services were replaced by electric lights.

NPCs: Mylera Klev (leader, ruthless, aggressive, art
collector).

destroy
the
lampblacks

Notable Assets: Small contingent of master swordfighters. Master alchemist; many potent potions and
essences.
Allies: The Path of Echoes, Dockers, Cabbies, Inspectors.
Enemies: The Lampblacks, The Bluecoats, Gondoliers.
Situation: The Red Sashes and the Lampblacks are at war over turf
and vengeance for deaths on both sides. Mylera is recruiting every free
blade in the district for extra muscle and doesn't take no for an answer.
You're either with them or against them.

See Starting the Game, page 26.

the crows

ii

An old gang with new leadership. Known for running
illegal games of chance.
Turf: Claims all of Crow's foot as their turf. Everyone
in the district pays up the chain to them. HQ in an
abandoned city watch tower. Operates many gambling
rooms across the district.
NPCs: Lyssa (leader, cold, calculating, killer)

reestablish
control
of the
district

Notable Assets: A veteran gang of thugs and killers.
A number of small boats. A fortified HQ.
Allies: The Bluecoats, Sailors, The Lost.
Enemies: The Hive, Inspectors, Dockers.
Situation: Lyssa murdered the former boss of the Crow's, Roric. She is a
fearsome killer, and few want to cross her, but her hold as the new leader
of the Crow's is uncertain. Some were loyal to Roric. As the power-play
continues, the Crow's hold on the district just might slip away...

4

This faction will help you even if it's not in their best interest to do so. They expect you to do the same. This faction will look for opportunities to cause trouble for you (or profit from your misfortune) as long as it causes no problems or significant cost for them. Advancement To advance up one tier. Reducing a Faction's Hold You may perform an operation specifically to reduce the hold of another faction. then successfully perform the next mission they request. They expect the same from you. with 0 hold. If you take on a mission given by a faction. and take precautions against you. This faction will go out of its way to hurt you even if it's not in their best interest to do so. to tier 3 (or beyond!). You may also earn hold by striking a deal with a faction that involves them "paying" you 1 of their hold in exchange for some service or asset. Your crew begins at tier 0. Large gangs (20 people) Tier 1 (bottom). and -1 status with their enemies if the operation isn't quiet. NPC Faction Project Clocks You may also add or remove a segment on a faction's project clock when you perform a mission or pull off a score. This faction will help you if it causes no problems or significant cost for them. and take precautions against you. Take advantage of a faction one or two tiers above you when they're reduced to zero hold. Faction Status +3: Allies. & hold Faction Ladder The goal of the game is to advance your crew up the faction ladder. you gain +1 status with them when you complete it. tier. 1 hold is generally worth 1 coin. -1: Interfering. the harder it is for you to lose your position. you must have at least 3 hold on your current tier. NPC factions generate hold via downtime actions. If you keep your operation completely quiet (no one knows it was you) then your status doesn't change. Gaining Hold Your crew generates hold primarily with development rolls (see Heat & Development Rolls on page 29). The more hold you have. You may also gain +1 status with a faction that your operation helps. Whenever you change tiers. Status Changes When you execute a score. Tier 0. Medium gangs (10 people). They expect you to do the same. A faction reduced to -3 hold instantly drops down 1 tier and resets to 1 hold. (40 people) Tier 2 (middle). -2: Unfriendly. Successfully perform a mission to take advantage of their weakness (you gain one tier. 5 . They expect you to do the same. They expect the same from you. This faction will help you if it doesn't create serious problems for them. Factions & Scale Faction tier level determines the scale of that faction's gangs. -3: Hostile. A faction at zero hold (or less) is vulnerable to lower-tier factions who want to move up a tier (See "advancement" at left). 0: Neutral. Huge gangs. Hold represents how strongly a faction can maintain their position at their current tier. Tier 3 (top). This faction will look for opportunities to hurt you as long as it doesn't create serious problems for them. you gain -1 status with any factions that are hurt by your operation. A successful operation results in -2 hold.factions factions. +2: Friendly. your hold resets to 1. then do one of the following: Achieve +3 faction status with a faction one or two tiers above you. +1: Helpful. They may also gain hold by striking deals and trading with another faction. Small gangs (5 people). You may first have to gather information (see page 10) to discover what you can do to reduce their hold. They expect you to do the same for them. they drop down one tier and reset to 1 hold).

Risky. You roll several at once and read the single highest result. most of the possible dice results are good. It's up to you which action your character performs to overcome a problem. some bad. after youroll to Stalk a target. Things go badly. Lesser rolls mean that you make progress. actions. If it's something you're really good at.&& effects effects Rolling the Dice Blades in the Dark uses six-sided dice. If you ever need to roll but you have zero (or negative) dice. The better your roll. Actions that are very poorly suited to the situation at will put the character in a more challenging position. Action Ratings There are sixteen actions in the game system that the player characters use to overcome obstacles and face dangers. it's risky. Force Finesse Influence Insight Maneuver Will Effects Are Also Resistances Your effect ratings also indicate how well your character can resist negative consequences. Effect Roll You make an effect roll to find out the scope of your character's action. see page 11. it's a full success. page 17. If you're somewhere in between. For example. It's a mixed result — some good. If someone tricks you with a clever ploy. If you're in a controlled position. you resist with your Will. Each effect has a rating (from zero to four) which tells you how many dice to roll when you apply that effect. If you get stabbed. The better your roll. the less stress it costs (or you can choose to suffer the effect and save your stress). If the highest is 1-3 it's a bad outcome. you resist with your Insight. but they can still be attempted. If you're in a desperate position. Action ratings don't just represent skill or training — you're free to describe how your character performs that action based on the type of person they are. see page 12. If the highest die is a 6. If you roll multiple 6s. you resist with your Force rating. while another character barks orders and intimidates people with their imposing size. When you encounter a terrifying spirit. and there's a mix of good and bad dice results. Effect Ratings There are six effects in the game system which you use to determine how much impact an action has on the situation. but will have to attempt more actions to finish the job. Is this action enough to overcome the obstacle or defeat the threat? Or is there more left to do? An Action Roll answers two questions: An Effect Roll answers this question: Do you accomplish your action? -and- What's the scope of my action? How much trouble are you exposed to when you do this? The possible results of the roll depend on your character's position. most of the results are bad. your effect roll tells us how much stress it will cost you to avoid the consequences. In general. Cipher Command Consort Deceive Discern Slip Mayhem Murder Prowl Secure Stitch Supply Sway Tinker Action Roll You make an action roll when your character tries to do something that's blocked by an obstacle or when they're threatened by danger.actions dice. Stalk See How to Choose an Action. you roll your Insight effect rating to find out how much you learn about them. and Controlled. If the highest is a 4 or 5 that's a partial success. it's a critical success. roll 2d and take the lowest result. And so on. Each action has a rating (from zero to four) which tells you how many dice to roll when you perform that action. For the details on Action Rolls. Resistance Roll When you resist a bad outcome. Attune You may use any action to overcome an obstacle or danger. Maybe your character is good at Command because they have a scary stillness to them. For the details on Effect Rolls. a full success on the effect roll means that your action has overcome the problem. the more easily you can avoid a bad outcome by taking stress (page 7). 6 . maybe it's worth it. There are three possible positions: Desperate. Things go well.

When they suffer a bad outcome that they don't want to accept. true. 7 . the amount of coin you've managed to stash away determines the fate of your character. vengeful. Daniel rolls his Force effect to resist. skittish. shaken and drained. are more resistant to the supernatural terror of spirits but it still takes its toll eventually. destructive. You must retire them to a different life at your first opportunity.stress trauma & stress & trauma Stress Player characters in Blades in the Dark have a special reserve of fortitude and luck called Stress. Once the possessed body suffers its fourth level of trauma. 6. A PC can choose to take stress as normal to resist these effects. The possessing spirit must either bond with the corpse (becoming a vampire) or abandon it and seek out a new host. wild. savage. Trauma levels are permanent. chaotic. Angry. they can take stress instead. hysterical. deceptive. probing. only to show back up later. You end up with a well-appointed home or apartment. Stress & The Supernatural A close encounter with a spirit or demon is a harrowing experience. Stash 11-20: Meager. You might operate a tavern or other small business. desperate. insightful. You end up with a simple home or apartment. or knowledgeable. then panic them into fleeing from its presence. or vengeful. You also improve your Vice rating by 1 (this is the only way Vice rating advances). the standard effect is to first freeze a person in place with fear. He can take 4 stress to reduce the consequences of the attack (he just gets a minor flesh wound) or Cross suffers the full consequences of a dagger to the chest. You might operate a medium business or several small ones. guiding. By default. awash in vice and misery. and gets a 1-3: a diminished result. they suffer a level of Trauma. See Lasting Effects. When you mark a level of trauma. bizarre. claiming a few luxuries. clear all of your stress. insistent. Cross. Add +1 to roll for each year of ghostly existence. or demanding. The GM describes how the assassin slips past Cross's defenses and stabs Cross in the chest. violent. 2. Trauma represents how worn down your character is. The result of the Effect Roll determines how much stress it costs to avoid. You may choose to be "left for dead" or otherwise dropped out of the current conflict. Curious. Reactive. Prophetic. unpredictable. Stash 0-10: Poor soul. You end up in a reeking flophouse. territorial. Ghost Qualities Roll 1d. page 12. Daniel's character. Mad. Jealous. Stash 40: Fine. aggressive. to reduce the consequences of that danger. 5. revelatory. Being possessed by a spirit inflicts a level of Trauma at the end of every week. clever. or instructive. Trauma When a PC marks their 8th and final stress box. dominant. Stash 21-39: Modest. Retirement When you fill your last Trauma box and retire. Exceptional NPCs. or insane. your character cannot continue as a daring scoundrel. or fleeting. with some small comforts. is losing a fight with an assassin sent by The Unseen. When you mark your fourth trauma box. it can no longer sustain its life. bold. 3. 1. You end up with a tiny (but warm) hovel that you can call your own. resetting to zero. such as Rail Jacks and occult weirdos. 4.

 Assist another character on the team. leaving the rest of your team to figure out their own way inside.  On Point: Lead a Group Action This is how you do the "everyone sneaks into the manor" situation. you become backup and someone else takes point. Moves on Point When you're on point. That's just the nature of teamwork. You add their effect dice to the effect roll for your next action. in addition to normal actions and rolls.  On Point: Overcome When you overcome an obstacle or danger the whole team is facing. The special moves are detailed below. as normal. Each PC who's involved rolls for the action and the team counts the single best result as the overall effort for everyone. take 1 stress to give them 1 bonus die to their roll. If your character can't communicate or somehow coordinate with the rest of the team. Each character can still perform solo actions during an operation. It's stressful to watch a teammate do less than perfectly on an action that affects everyone. on the lookout for danger. After you perform any special move on point. If the wrong person is on point. you roll to resist the effect instead of them. the character leading the group action takes 1 stress for each character that rolled 1-3 as their best result. Otherwise. All the other PCs on the team are backup for the character on point. You won't always get it just right.) Do We Have to Use Teamwork? Teamwork moves are options. but if your result is less than 6 each member of the team suffers 1 stress. The group action move is good when none of the team members are experts at a given action and can all contribute to improve the performance of the team. and the result covers for everyone to gain access to the manor. if you wish. This is how you do the "I'll lure the guard away" situation. However. Overcome a group problem. but stress applies again for 1-3 results. (This stress happens on the initial roll only. Teamwork Summary Moves on Point Lead a group action. Everyone rolls their Prowl action. in addition to normal actions and rolls. or provide charismatic inspiration? The overcome move is good when you have an expert on the team with a high action rating to deal with a particular problem. you coordinate multiple members of the team to tackle a problem together. Do you bark orders. you can solve a problem for everyone.  Backup: Follow Through When you follow through on an action set up by the character on point. The point and backup roles shift as the team takes action. Smoothly shifting the point role around the team is a mini game that requires actual teamwork among the players. During the course of an operation. Choose someone new to be on point. But the player on point suffers stress for everyone who does poorly. two characters can swap if one of them takes 1 stress. The character on point leads the action of the team. the GM asks the group "Who's on point?" One of the players chooses to put their character in the point role.  Set up a character who follows on your action.) The result of the point character's roll applies to everyone on the team. not requirements. When you lead a group action. You may spend stress to avoid the consequences. give subtle hand signals. If your action is a success. only the leader rolls for effect. you have access to three special moves:  Lead a group action. you have access to three special teamwork moves:  Face an effect in place of the character on point. Assist another character. When you perform a setup action. and the best result counts for the whole team. They go first and make decisions about how to deal with obstacles. Face an effect for the character on point. you do something that makes one of your teammates more effective. but risk stressing out your teammates.  On Point: Set Up “The only thing tougher than scrounging on these haunted streets is trying to do it alone. you add your effect dice to the effect roll of the teammate who next takes point and follows through on your setup (see Backup: Follow Through). Describe how your character assists. There's no official "team leader" as far as the game is concerned. (Your next action may include a special point move. Describe how you intervene to face the effect meant for them.  Overcome an obstacle or danger for the whole team. You must take point when you follow-through as backup.” —Arlyn Grel Moves as Backup When you're backup. The point character rolls their Sway action. you become the character on point. Everyone may roll for effect and take the best result. Describe how your character leads the team in a coordinated effort. Only one teammate can assist a given roll. each PC is likely to have a turn in both roles. Roll your action as normal. The backup characters are following their lead. ready to step in and help. Changing Roles You become backup after you use any teamwork move on point. you can't use or benefit from any teamwork moves. like Overcome.  Backup: Assist When you assist another character. not any follow-up rolls from a 1-3 result.  Follow through on a setup action. You can Sway that guard with your charm to gain access to the manor without using the Overcome move. The group action may extend to the effect roll. They're also the first to face any harm or trouble that comes their way. Follow through on a setup action.  Backup: Face an Effect Moves as Backup When you face an effect in place of the character on point. Set up another character. You can't freely shuffle people between roles. It's tough covering for the stragglers.teamwork teamwork Teamwork When the team of PCs engages in an operation together. 8 .

In the full version of the game. a campaign event occurs. Some events will tick the clock up and some will tick it down. by that point. Add or subtract phases depending on the details of the situation and complexity of the project. The crew would have to make their way through all three layers to reach Bazso's personal safe and fine whiskey collection. Sneaking into the Bluecoat watch tower? Start a clock for the security coverage of the patrols. In this way. I bet you'll have all sorts of ideas for campaign countdowns of your own design. A moderate obstacle is a 6-segment clock. or the time it takes for a burning building to collapse. A basic long-term project clock (like tinkering up a new feature for a device) has 8 segments. Talk to them about known faction projects that they might aid or interfere with. Recovery Clocks When A PC suffers a lasting effect. When a PC takes action. the mission is scrubbed—the target escapes. too. When the clock is full. During downtime. the time-based threat manifests. Linked Clocks You can make a clock that unlocks another clock once it's filled. A daunting obstacle might be a 10-segment clock. or per day. it has a progress clock associated with it. but on a 6+. the bigger the clock. A tug-of-war clock is also perfect for an ongoing turf war between two crews or factions. above. the GM has several campaign countdowns that represent the unstable situation in the city. the Lampblack's HQ might have "perimeter security" with an 8-segment clock. based on the missions and scores they pull off. to represent a back-and-forth situation. you won't need campaign countdowns — unless you play a whole lot! If you do. Also. generally: 1) Figure out how to do it. etc. representing the time needed to recover. Campaign Countdowns Tug-of-War Clock For this quick start. Truly long-term projects (like creating a new designer drug) should be broken up into several phases. the GM fills in a segment on the countdown clock. you can receive aid to tick segments on your recovery clocks. each with its own progress clock. Mission Clocks The GM might make a special countdown clock for a time- sensitive mission. The more serious the effect. When the PCs take downtime (page 21) the GM ticks forward the faction clocks that they're interested in. Generally. The PCs may also directly affect NPC faction clocks. Countdown Clocks The GM can use a progress clock to represent a countdown threat. If the countdown runs out. A mission clock might tick down one segment per hour. A complex obstacle is an 8-segment clock. "interior guards" with a 6-segment clock. This is one of the systems the GM uses to make the city of Duskwall come alive as a dynamic backdrop for the game. for instance. Each effect result level indicates how many segments to tick (see page 12). A simple obstacle is a 4-segment clock. or more! An effect roll is used to tick segments on a clock. to represent the window of opportunity you have to complete the operation. like an injury. or per week. the clock counts down. Long-Term Project Clocks Faction Clocks Each faction has a long-term goal they're working on when the game begins. and "Bazso's office security" with a 6-segment clock.progress progress clocksclocks Progress Clocks Use a progress clock for a goal that takes several actions to resolve. like reinforcements that are on the way. Some complex obstacles should be broken into several "layers". Once it fills. You can set up a clock that can be filled and emptied by events. Some projects will take a long time. the GM advances the campaign countdown clocks. and also consider how a PC operation might affect the NPC clocks. the world around the PCs is dynamic and things happen that they're not directly connected to. In the "Revolution!" example. A multi-phase long-term project is essentially a set of linked clocks. the more complex the goal or problem. For example. you might make a "Revolution!" clock that indicates when the refugee Skovlanders in the city start to riot over the annexation of their homeland. effort spent during downtime (see page 21) can tick a clock representing a long-term project. they do their action quickly enough so no countdown occurs. When a campaign clock is full. each with its own clock. the GM might make a countdown clock called "Imperial Troops Arrive" when the "Revolution!"clock fills up. So if the PC rolls a 4/5 on a risky move. 2) Muster resources and test things out. The phases are. whether the players intended it or not. For example. When one of the NPC factions fills its project clock. When the PCs fill the clock with their effect rolls. The GM also has the option to include the advancement of a countdown as a danger on a roll. Share them on the G+ community for others to use. depending on its nature. they've overcome the patrols obstacle. 3) Complete the project. the more segments in the progress clock. 9 . changing the overall situation in the city and creating new opportunities and challenges. or another crew completes it first. the revolution begins.

To "plan an operation. you can scout it out by gathering information. "No plan extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy. There are five different types of plan. The Whisper has already Attuned to the ghost of the former proprietor to divine the secret of the hidden safe. Linked Plans A common scenario is a team that wants to attempt a twopronged approach. the next teammate who follows up gets increased effect dice. Some groups of players naturally fall into a creative mode when the GM asks about the detail. we'll break in to their house. the players. Their characters can perform a special kind of move called Gather Information. If there's a question of how much information can be gathered. "You create a diversion at the tavern the Dimmer Sisters own. The Hound arranged to Slip her pistols under the table ahead of time so she could retrieve them after the pat-down at the door. and when they send their thugs over there. If you don't want scouting and casing targets to be a focus of play. Occult plan. bickering about the best approach. looking at scrawled maps. The Cutter Consorted with his friend Chael to ask him to arrive at the dice game ahead of time. If not. So. etc. For instance. Or. (See Teamwork. or the social connection." simply choose the plan and supply the detail. The characters take care of that. with the end goal being. Detail: The method of deception. But you. based on what the character is doing to discover the details. Scouting the Detail When you choose a plan. say so. If the diversion succeeds. If you don't know the detail. each with a missing detail you need to provide. You intend to confront or exploit a supernatural power. whispering plots and schemes. then you roll for effect. the GM will ask you to provide a missing detail. suspect. Infiltration plan. you could ask questions about where Avrick gets his supply. Or maybe you decide to stalk the Night Market and find out who's carrying the heaviest purses home. simplify it to a setup action as part of the main plan. Social plan: You intend to negotiate. Otherwise. you can invoke a flashback scene to roll for an action in the past which impacts your current situation. page 8. don't have to do the nitty-gritty planning. You intend to do violence to a target. You intend to trespass unseen where you are not wanted. You intend to lure. Just choose and go. and lusting after stacks of coin. trick. The Five Plans Assault plan. try to refrain from doing this. The diversion is a setup action that a team member performs as part of the Infiltration plan. Detail: The point of attack. go ahead and simply invent the detail off the cuff. Then cut to the action as the first moments of the operation unfold at the target location. It's a question of interest. too. bargain. All you have to do is choose what type of plan the characters have already made. play with a mix of approaches. and follow up with gather information actions to discover it. They huddle around a flickering lantern in their lair. etc. Detail: The entry point of infiltration. lamenting the dangers ahead. The diversion is its own operation. If your characters don't already know the detail. 2. The GM sets a stress cost when you activate a flashback action: 0 Stress for a normal action for which you had easy opportunity. When an operation is underway. They invent something interesting and supply the detail from their imagination in the moment. But there's just too much going on to say everything — it would take forever and be boring. Detail: The arcane power you will employ. Planning Your crew spends time planning each score. 1 Stress for a complex action or unlikely opportunity. Flashbacks The rules for actions and effects don't distinguish between actions performed in the present moment and those performed in the past. but you can ask any question related to the situation at hand. Deception plan. you make an action roll as normal. to suddenly spring up as a surprise ally. 1. You play it out as a full series of team actions. you ask the GM questions about the fictional world. Maybe you bribed the district watch sergeant to not patrol here tonight. Detail: The social connection you're using. any team members who performed the setup action can drift back in to the main operation and join the team again so they don't have to sit out and wait.) 10 . the players have a tool at their disposal when they want to know more about something in the fiction. for details about setup actions. "There are no guards at the house when we infiltrate it later. By default. off-screen. If the action of gathering the information is blocked by an obstacle or exposes your character to danger. what he intends to do later. or persuade. Is the diversion interesting enough on its own to play out moment by moment? If so. make it a full operation." —Moltke the Elder If it makes sense." There are two ways to handle this.info & planning information & planning Gather Information The flow of information from the GM to the players about the fictional world is very important in a roleplaying game. like the point of attack. A list of sample questions is provided on the character sheet." Either approach is fine. you decide to beat up Avrick the powder dealer to make him talk. That's right. so you make a Supply roll to see if it worked. or intuit. or manipulate. When your character gathers information. the GM tells the players what their characters perceive. the planning phase is over as soon as you start it. 2 Stress for an elaborate action which involved several special opportunities or contingencies. linked to a future infiltration plan. if he's lying. This is fun! But be aware that inventing details this way makes scouting actions irrelevant.

The choice is yours. Suffering stress or a lasting effect. or try for full effect by taking a bigger risk and rolling a risky move. 1-3: Things go badly. - -1d if you face veteran. You take a huge risk on a slim chance. Common devil's bargains include: By revising their approach and desired effect. meaning several of them might apply. that's fine. 1-3: You reveal a flaw in this approach that will expose you to danger. You exploit a dominant position.") The players need information to make good decisions about their actions. Risky. or you may choose to overreach and get +1 effect level but also face effect from the danger. some advantage which helps you now. Take some action or exploit Sacrificing coin. the bigger the risk. and pay the price. The Devil's Bargain There isn't a devil's bargain in every situation. You take time to carefully execute a plan. Position & Desired Effect Assess the strength of the character's position to perform this action. but make it explicit anyway. You take a calculated risk. - -1d if you’re hindered by any relevant lasting effects. + +1d for the Devil’s Bargain 6: You do it but the danger manifests. PCs in Blades are reckless scoundrels addicted to destructive vices—they don't always act in their own best interests. First. You hedge your bets and play it safe. the bigger the desired effect. 11 . security. an item or a crew asset.action the action roll roll action roll 1d for each Action dot. You must abandon this approach or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. Crit: You do it with increased effect (+1 level) and you may create an additional opportunity that follows on from this action. or well-prepared opposition. Revealing a valuable secret for a momentary edge. There are three positions (from worst to best): Desperate. Then. You can't roll Murder unless you proceed with serious violence. To reflect this. Each time you roll a desperate move. Discuss alternate goals. assemble the dice pool for the roll. 4/5: Things go badly. Angering a powerful enemy. a player can modify their position. approaches and effects and how the PC's position might change as a result. There's some overlap among actions. or Controlled. Choose Your Action Tell the group which action your character performs to deal with the obstacle or danger. Crit: You do it with increased effect (+1 effect result level). Which of the various phrases best matches the character's current situation? 4/5: You do it but the danger manifests. Be explicit about what they'll accomplish and what they're risking! (Even if the risk is "You don't know what will happen if you do that. + +1d for Backup (they take stress). the danger manifests. mark a tick of desperate move xp on your character sheet. choose: Abandon this approach (you'll have to try another way) or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. Betraying a teammate. the GM or any other player can offer you a bonus die if you accept a devil's bargain. 6: You do it and avoid the danger. as long as your character actually does the action in question. but works against your overall well being. You’re stuck in a bad position. See page 20. When your PC pursues a goal that's blocked by an obstacle or exposes them to danger you make an action roll. Also consider the desired effect of the PC and the possible effect of the threat they're facing. The danger manifests. friend or loved one. Making a dangerous promise. Once you're happy with the assessment. You may back out now (abandon this method of action) or go ahead with it by rolling a risky move. you face a more potent effect from the danger (-1 to your resistance result level). or future plans. You act under fire. Look at the profiles for each position. elite. You face a dangerous opponent on equal footing. + +1d if the target matches your Background. Then. The devil's bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. depending on the specific approach you take. If one doesn't occur to anyone right away. You face a threat that’s out of your league. Desperate Risky Controlled Crit: You do it and avoid the danger. In general. Adding heat to the crew with evidence or witnesses. choose: Abandon this goal (you can’t achieve it for now) or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. 1-3: It gets worse! First. 6: You do it! 4/5: You do it with reduced effect (-1 level). You make the deal. get the bonus die. It's usually obvious.

" But you get to decide when to spend them. Things may be tough for your fledgling crew. you overcome obstacles and face dangers by making action rolls. When a PC inflicts a lasting effect on an NPC. Determine the Scope of Your Action In Blades in the Dark. a complex security system. But. NPCs can't take stress. especially if you expect to face worse things soon. (All of your armor is restored when you have downtime. you make an effect roll to determine its scope. they overcome a 4-segment obstacle." that might be a 4-segment obstacle. Armor 6: Your effect is complete. If multiple lasting effects apply to the action. resistance roll 1d for each Effect diamond . if the player's goal is "I shove him back and run away down the stairs. a weakened enemy) can have smaller clocks. you can mark one armor box to avoid a negative effect. 10. can also have long-term effects. She rolls a 4. but it applies to all kinds of actions and effects. you make an effect roll to find out. If you've played other RPGs. instead. Just keep it in mind. If a lasting effect hinders a broken character's action. 1 segment Resist the Danger When you face a danger and resist its negative outcome.) If an NPC has armor. 4/5: You resist it if you take 2 stress. they take a -1d penalty to the leg action roll. When you're maxed out on stress you can't wriggle out of bad outcomes anymore (unless you take trauma). - -1d if your opposition is especially potent with this effect. effect roll 1d for each Effect diamond . + +1d if you have a Fine Item. Tell the players what you're thinking about the scope of the obstacle and talk about their goal so it's clear and they can revise as needed. and she's forced over the edge. and run down the stairs. When a PC suffers a lasting effect. so you'll need to attack them again. When a player rolls less effect (1 or 2 segments) then maybe draw the clock real quick. not just attacks and damage. Complex obstacles (a series of guard patrols. which shows how much effect you have for a given roll. and describe how their effect manifests. 0 stress. Critical: You resist fully. Leverage seduced might create a new opportunity for action (if an NPC has the "Seduced" lasting effect. - -1d if your opposition is especially resistant to this effect. If you have a type of armor that applies to the situation. Critical: Your effect is extreme. etc. Lasting Effects A lasting effect persists beyond the current situation. make a note of it on an the character sheet." that might be an 6-segment clock (or more). kill him. 4 segments.or 12-segment clocks are good. you'll usually take a -1d penalty to your effect roll. 6: You resist it if you take 1 stress. take a -2d penalty." For example. but at least you have a safety net that your enemies don't. along with its recovery clock. meaning she can avoid any harm from the fall by taking 2 stress. The result of the damage roll tells you if you defeat the target. This system is similar. instead of taking stress. It can be used as leverage until the target takes time and effort to recover from it. then make a follow-up roll for damage. you can think of stress as your "hit points. arcane events. Your character's remaining stress boxes indicate how much trouble they can avoid. 2 segments. 8-. The vast majority of obstacles should be 4-segments. 1-3: Your effect is diminished. or if they still have hit points left. a veteran fighter) call for bigger clocks. a suspicious mark. top right. Physical injuries produce obvious lasting effects. so you don't need to draw a 4-segment clock for each and every obstacle. fill in 1 or 2 parts. Then ask them what they want to do next. without overcoming the obstacle. for example) or might improve a PC's position for a future action — or both. and how many segments of progress it's worth. 6 segments. If they say. how many action rolls does it take to deal with a particular problem? If you're not sure. When a player rolls for effect and gets a 6+. 12 . that's the sign that you don't need to roll for effect at all. See the table. This is the standard case. you roll one of your effect ratings to find out how much stress it will cost to avoid the consequences. If you've played other roleplaying games. This usually means you take a Lasting Effect (see below). You don't have to take the stress. you're probably familiar with a system where you make a roll to attack in combat. She resists the harm from the fall using her Finesse effect rating (she catches a laundry line and slows her fall on the way down). 3-segment or 2-segment clocks are fine. you can suffer the full consequences. Use smaller or larger clocks when you want to highlight something remarkable or when the players do something "the hard way. They just suffer whatever effect level you roll against them. Most lasting effects should be 6or 8-segment clocks. This is always optional. + +1d if you have a Fine Item. Sometimes this is a good idea. The default case is a simple obstacle which has 4-segments of scope. If you imagine a 1-segment obstacle. but social influence. Arlyn's action roll goes badly while she's fighting a Red Sash on a rooftop. 1-3: You resist it if you take 4 stress. Lesser obstacles (a trusting mark. "I slip past his defense. fatigue.effect resistance effect & resistance & When your PC successfully performs an action. 4/5: Your effect is partial. put it on an index card for future reference.

" wards "If you lead. but doesn't find the Dimmer Sisters' details from the last time. Excellent. "Yep. What's the plan?" The players look at the list of plans on their character sheets and quickly choose one. It's tough to stand by and watch someone do something and not do it just right!" patrols "Ha! Yeah. that the Dimmer Sisters had recently acquired a valuable arcane relic from the time before the cataclysm." says James. "Your gondola bumps against the ancient dock below the Dimmer's manor. So we have a better overall chance. everyone will roll to attune. you're making your way through the underground canal. and you're not under any other pressures. "But it's shuttered down to a faint glow. Now. The Dimmer Sisters. A teammate can give you a bonus die if they assist you and take one stress. shrouded in pitch blackness. if you handle it yourself to overcome the obstacle for the whole team." Allison says. then you're the only one who rolls. you'll take stress for everyone who fails their roll. which means they're enemies. I think using the underground canal entrance is good. they risk stress." Rachel says. "So if I lead." locks "Yep. Wards: 6.example of play example of play Breaking Into the Manor House Rivka and her crew of scoundrels are on a job." says James. Since I'm pretty good at this. to boot. We already have enough heat as it is. they haven't had a reason to change things. the rest of you take stress. or if they knew we were coming." Dylan says. Is it all moldy and slimy down here?" "Oh." "Okay. take 2 dice." Everyone agrees. on to the operation! So." "Okay.' Cylene's eyes glow softly and she approaches the doorway." "Okay. Stealing the Eye will hurt the sisters. "That is so true. plus some goons patrolling around. Got it. "We've cased the Dimmer Sisters' manor before. the GM." James says. "Okay. "Cool." Sarah says. Rachel quickly makes a new set of progress clocks for their security. Your last recon still counts." "Well. same as the Dimmers. who's on point?" desperate if you had to do this in the middle of a fight. Oh well. I think 'overcome' makes sense. Wards are my thing. It's been quiet with them. and put a valuable treasure in the crew's vault. And you can accept a devil's bargain for a bonus die. It sounds like you're using the Attune action to get past it. How strong is my position here?" "You're dealing with arcane wards set by the Dimmer sisters specifically to catch someone breaking in to their home. I risk stress. since they set up the wards. as well. probably huddled around their sketch of the Dimmer's manor house and the canal map." "'Hold up. since you're leading and covering their mistakes. You're a professional Whisper who does this for a living. The Plan Rachel. But this is something you're prepared for. if Allison doesn't roll a full success. You can see your breath mist in the air. "So you have 2 dice so far." "Ugh.. you want to rob the Dimmer Sisters." Allison says. Any more dice?" "Two more. Locks: 6." Everyone agrees. or are you handling this yourself to overcome the obstacle on behalf of the team?" The GM shrugs. "The walls are covered in glistening wet ooze. You're going after them where they're strong and prepared." The GM checks her notes. and the team will keep the best result. "But. Especially because these yahoos aren't any good at attuning." "That sounds good. it's your call. yeah. but whatever you roll counts for everyone. but I risk some stress. that sounds about right. On Point The GM asks the question that starts the action on a team operation: "Okay. Attune it is." Allison says. Or. You also get a bonus die if your background matches the target —in this case. the darkness is not dispelled. asks the question that kicks off every job in Blades in the Dark: "Okay." says Rachel. "'I'll take care of this. after all. An open stone doorway lies beyond." "Yeah." "Okay." Rachel says. "Yeah.'" Allison says. everyone. "Let's keep this nice and quiet. There's a stench of waste and rot. And if I overcome." Rachel says." Rachel says. Everyone agrees that this is the job they want to pursue. poling your gondola silently through the disused tunnels. "When we cased the place last time." "Great. So risky seems right. "And what's the difference." Allison says." 13 . "Your first obstacle. The GM asks the group for the detail that completes the plan: "What's your point of entry?" "Well. "I vote for infiltration. Rivka's crew has a -2 status rating with the Dimmer Sisters. Patrols: 4." Rachel says." says Allison. again?" "I'll take point." "Yes." "Sweet." "My background is Noble. The Eye of Kotar. When you shine your lantern toward it. loosen their hold in the underworld. You're on point. "The Sisters are all whispery like me." The other players agree." Sarah says. the Dimmer's had some arcane wards set up. We have cistern keys to deal with any gates down there. "Yeah. They heard from their smuggler friend. But." "I have a lantern held out. She puts them out on the table for everyone to see." "Right." says Dylan. "Cool. Sounds like the definition of a risky position. A coldness creeps over everyone. Hoxley. Take a bonus die. so you get to decide: are you leading everyone to attune together. "Cylene's Attune rating is 2. based on what she knows about the Sisters' operation. The water is black and oily. and that approach will keep us out of sight from witnesses on the street." Allison says. if you want them. sending out arcane power against the protective wards that must be there. in character. We'll have to assume that's still true. They're just gonna hold me back. "That's the plan your characters made. to me: You face a dangerous opponent on equal footing. "It would be "You're on point." says Rivka. completely obscuring the stone..

Frost. Let's roll it. Rachel. Think of a cost or complication or nasty little twist and if Allison accepts it." "Oh right! Bad ass. or if there's still more stuff to do. He closes his eyes and opens his mind. "That's a complete effect. right? I can face danger in your place. "You know I never leave your side. aren't you?" "I sure am. It's a 6! "Suck it." Allison says. "Bam." Allison rolls all her dice and keeps the highest." "Oh. "That's part of the risky move. We know they have a pile of bodies in their basement." Allison says. "Okay. "Hmm." "Whoa. "You're going to overreach. "I love it." "Okay. It makes sense. "Okay. "That's cool." Sarah says. "It's not like we were gonna turn around and leave. The darkness in the doorway isn't just as barrier. so that's 4 ticks on the Wards clock. Uh." Sarah says." "No. I got this." Rachel says. Eventually.. "Let's do it. So mean. and so good. What's the danger?" "Well." Rachel says." "Holy crap. So that's 6 ticks on the clock." "Yeah. you get to bump up your result by a whole tier. that's good. "I'm your backup." Allison says. When you meddle with the Dimmer's wards. or you may choose to overreach and get +1 effect level but also face an effect from the danger. letting her take whatever strength from him she needs. "Aw. Spoiler alert: it's me." says Rachel. it's actually a critical result! Since you decided to overreach." "Yep. Cylene. From a success to a crit. let's hear your devil's bargain. It helps me see arcane energy. "Nice. That's 1 stress for me. and Frost's. "I'm gonna show these Dimmer's who's boss." "Yeah. So. "If you say so! I overreach. More — you know — death vapor stuff to do.. 2 Will + fine item. let's talk teamwork first. No. yeesh. same as picking my action.. You feel your heart stop." "Hey." "Yeah." "Okay." Allison says." Dylan passes the bonus die over. But. Yes. thanks. "So it's the obvious thing. They'll be able to figure out who did it. "Full success. wait. "It's not just my job! Anyone can propose a devil's bargain." "Oh. Maybe I don't want to show them who's boss." 14 . No devil's bargain. to bypass the barrier ward.. I get it."Okay.. Devil's bargain for me. It swirls out and wraps you in choking. what's the danger?" Dylan asks. too. damn! I should have said that to begin with." Rachel says. I'm attuning and channeling my willpower." Allison says. I have my fine spirit mask. We're good? I have 5 dice." James says." Rachel says. "Frost walks up beside Cylene and silently places his hand on her shoulder. that's 3 dice. awesome!" Allison says. you're good. "What does Frost do to assist?" Dylan thinks for a moment. Allison reads from the reference sheet: 6: You do it and avoid the danger." Dylan says. So this is definitely Will." Dylan says. right? I beat the whole thing. Who wants to back me up?" "I'll do it. "It's the obvious thing. sorry. Go ahead and smash them. First." "Yep." "Ooookay. Take dice equal to your Will. cold vapors. But I'd like to know. They do have a certain reputation about how they deal with interlopers." James says." Rachel says. "Oh." Allison rolls and gets a 6 again! A complete effect. you're gonna roll your effect to see if you can bypass this whole ward problem with this one action. it's fine." "Here we go. she gets a bonus die. based on what Cylene did. And I choose which effect to roll. I have one." says Allison. you leave a trace of yourself behind. it's a trap. the Dimmer's don't mess around. "But." "What's it say for a full success on a risky move?" Rachel asks." "Wonderful." "Eh. We're here to do a job. I'll deal with the death vapors. No matter how weird things get. "Oh jeez." Allison says. Do you have a fine quality item that applies to this?" "Yep." Allison says. You should know what the danger is so you can decide if you're taking the risk or not. after all. you're the best.. Let's roll.

Want to tell us what happens? Remember. but first we have to find out what happens with the heart-stopping death vapors. or maybe they think of something else. So I'm gonna die. "Oh no. that's what stress is for." Rachel says. "So. Maybe James steps up so Dor can be on point and use his Lurk talents to lead the team past the Dimmer's patrols and find where they keep their artifact collection. no thanks. that's true. so how might they deal with it? Maybe they just do a setup action and hand point back to Allison again. Thanks to my awful roll. but hey. he suddenly twitches and stands up.." "Okay. leaving more to do with the wards? She's handing off point to someone else. "Dylan says. "So. and twin beams of pale blue light spill out." Rachel says.." "Oh. that's gonna cost me 4 stress! Which is almost all I have left. I think it's just like you said. Not breathing. so sure. and takes a long." wards "Oh yeah. Obviously. huh? Yeah. 'Well. or ultra-cautious and pragmatic? What if the Dimmer Sisters had been tipped off to this infiltration? Maybe there was an opportunity for that. "Uh. alive after all. one by one. physically? Because resisting physical attack is totally a Force thing. but. withering your organs. "I'll take stress to avoid that effect. Frost. "Ouch! Okay then. and they each fade out silently. Questions to Consider What if the team had no Whisper? How would things have gone differently? Can anyone deal with arcane stuff. or does it require a specialist? Would they need to hire an NPC whisper for the operation? What if they didn't know about the wards ahead of time and just blundered into them? How would you handle that? What if Allison had rolled lower for her effect. In their place. you step between Cylene and the death vapors."You sure do." "Nice. Allison. Dylan. filling your lungs. no. you totally wrecked the wards. This causes a chain reaction through all the wards across the building. from the devil's bargain. You collapse on the dock." And that's the first part of the operation in the bag. "I guess Frost has to summon his Will against this stuff. lights it. from behind my spirit mask. it depends. Could that question be resolved by an action roll? How would you handle that? Setting the danger of the ward to "you die" was pretty harsh! Do you think that's a fair move. that does make sense. a symbol that encodes my name in an ancient language. face down in the muck. A weak effect. burning through the death vapors and ripping the arcane energy of the ward apart. I can't use force against death vapors. given the Dimmer's lethal reputation? When would you threaten a lethal effect like that? 15 ." "Right." Rachel says. He pulls his pipe from his belt. "Are the vapors actually attacking his lungs and heart." "Well. you leave some trace of yourself behind." "How are you resisting the vapors.' he says. really. Frost is really tough and can push through pain and damage.." "Yeah." Allison says." Dylan says.." Rachel says. Allison used her teamwork move on point to overcome the wards for the whole team. He gets a 3. but. right?" "Right! Tell us how Frost resists the vapor and doesn't die. yeah. You feel them envelop you. So. He rolls and the dice betray him." "I struggle with every ounce of strength within me!" Dylan says. It's up to you. after a beat. Not moving. yeah. Force is my best effect rating. so now she hands off the point position to someone else." "Okay.. my eyes glow even brighter. Frost?" Rachel asks. "We'll get to that. a single scorched rune remains. "I guess the vapors are both arcane and physical.. Are the PCs daring and proud. or maybe the PCs planned their operation secretly and attacked before the Dimmer's were wise to it. thoughtful drag." Sarah says. shit. I'll roll Force.

Which of their action ratings will they use? Then. It helps the group bond. or driven to bigger risks. not inflicting them. And that. or punching them in the face. Where you go from just talking to using a mechanic. "No." GM: "Cool." And then the other players chime in and suggest an alternative position. but then the PCs take stress (or even trauma) and avoid the harm. It's just a scratch. The purpose of threatening harm is not always to inflict it. But it's just talking. but anyone can call for it. after all." GM: "Okay then. when do you call for it? You call for an action roll when any of these happen: A player character faces an obstacle that blocks or complicates the achievement of their goal. set expectations." But the only way they can know whether it's worth it to pay the cost is if you describe the potential harm. all that good stuff. But when it comes to actionadventure stories like Blades in the Dark. speculating about what might happen. The purpose of the effect and stress mechanics is to add interesting fictional details to the game when it comes to harm and trouble. adventurous kind of game? Then describe dangers with less dire consequences. then the danger might be a lightning-fast move that puts a dagger in the PC's heart. right? There's a thing that happens in a roleplaying game where the conversation shifts. This is by design! The PCs in the game start out as huge underdogs. Do you want a more cinematic. This is usually a good thing." "You hear the bone snap as you hit the cobblestones. Injuries are bloody and leave permanent scars. the danger. or maybe cracking a rib with her blackjack if she's got the upper hand. The threats become manifest in the minds of everyone playing. all that stuff.how to use the system part i The game is a conversation between the people at the table. or thwarted. a dangerous situation or environment. the group first dips into being authors for a moment as they suss out the position. He's no push-over and his goons are standing right there. narrating actions. That's the nature of a scoundrel. I'm forcing him to hand it over." It's empowering. Each cycle of threat and stress requires this input of new fiction. It becomes real in the ongoing fiction of the game. to start a brief conversation about that. A player character faces danger from a threat — an NPC. then. making jokes. They're scary. If they're facing an NPC that you've described as a standard thug. "The ghost is entangled with your soul. Since NPCs don't have stats and action ratings. They hang there in the room as horrible potential. Do you want a more deadly. right now. I take the 2 stress instead. Describing the harmful outcomes with gusto is your job. What will happen next? We hold our breath. People are "left for dead. anyway? Why not just talk it out? The main reason is this: when we just talk things out. speaking in character. Then the player can resist it with a simple statement of mechanics. Someone grabs the dice and gets all excited about making a roll. it's by the severity of their dangers and harm (and the position of the PC's action roll) that their capabilities are manifest in the game. "You take 3 damage. or Controlled. So. This is something that will grow and evolve over time as you play the game. Risky. The Purpose of Dangers & Stress Some GMs get frustrated when they feel like the enemy NPCs or threats "aren't doing anything. It's not that bad. I suggest the position the character is in. which faces an obstacle or danger. "No. what do you actually say? I like to first ask the player how they're accomplishing their action. get on the same page. What's that like? Triggering the Action Roll This shift in the conversation is the GM's responsibility (they should always be on the lookout). is what we're here to do. Why We Do This What's the point of this shift into a mechanic. or the player revises their statement to something more or less daring. kind of game? Then PCs and NPCs should threaten lethal harm all the time. So. The stress system gives them a special ability to survive when they otherwise wouldn't. even if they're avoided. so they have some hope of achieving their long-term goals. It's like: Player: "So he has the amulet? Okay. When the mechanic is triggered." you describe how the blade catches under their armor and digs a bloody furrow across their ribs. and let the dice fall. sketching maps." "You can tell that she'll never trust you again. Then. Instead of simply saying. Talk to the group about it as you go. How are you gonna do that?" Player: "I look him square in the eye and I Command him to hand it over. high-stakes. NPC Threat Levels The severity of the danger that you describe (and the position for the action roll) determines the threat level of the opposition." They almost inflict harm on the PCs. lean forward in our seats. Sounds pretty risky to me. it's to describe it. To use the action mechanic we need to know the strength of the character's position — Desperate. Then the player gets to roll their resistance. A player character leads or gives orders to an NPC or NPC group. we don't want consensus when the characters go into danger. If they're facing an NPC that you've described as a master assassin. or everyone just nods and we've shifted into using the mechanic. or inspired to create a twist or complication. no. and the details of the action. You're talking. then the dangers will be things like wrestling them to the ground." 16 . look you in the eye and say. author mode switches off and everyone becomes the audience. We want to raise our hands over our heads and ride the roller coaster over the drop." The bad outcomes are spoken aloud. They look danger in the face and laugh. We want to be surprised. I take the stress instead. we tend to build consensus.

But that means you would have been heavy loaded when you bluffed the butler. It's not a big deal.. Something happens which changes the character's circumstances.. and tick 1-segment if a clock is involved. and can decide to withdraw or push their luck with a risky move. It was supposed to be Arlo. Forgive each other's mistakes.. keep it simple. but before you can get further into the house. And also: "Oh. You barely squeeze into a dark alcove before the light hits you. You already did it without danger as a result of the action roll. then the PCs can try it. bring in the teamwork moves. there's more left to do. On a controlled failure. Even on a 1-3 result. well. they become available to everyone as a new tool in play. Things get worse. but that was all wrong.. just revise it. instead. Be flexible and let it change over time according to what the group is most excited about. There aren't any "zero segment" outcomes. When they wonder about how much loot they get and how their crew rises in the underworld. got it. You can't freely substitute the rating of one action while doing another (unless you have the Slide's Adaptation special ability). If you want to ease in to the system in play. Can I have them anyway?" "Oh. but then roll a 1-3 on effect. Climbing is a Prowl action. When the group starts asking about teamwork and helping each other. dammit. the threat dominates and makes the situation much worse. They don't just swing and miss. Don't feel like you have to explain everything up front. and say. Don't feel like you have to get everything perfectly right every time. I'm not good at Prowl. that's fine. if you just use the core action roll and forget extra details or special cases. Each time you make a judgment call or establish new details about the game world. doing something in the fiction. The action of climbing is. just start with the action roll. Have fun. When describing a character's effect. Athletic moves like that are the Prowl action. the player gets a choice to push their luck and try again. On a risky failure. Go with what's obvious to you. climbing. That is. bring in the development and faction stuff. I want to climb in using Slip." The character's action has a tangible outcome. If you establish that the Whisper PC is the only one who can talk to the ghost they summoned (due to a special "summoning language" that binds them together). as long as the character performs the new action in the fiction. A bad effect roll can't "undo" a successful action roll. Nox can certainly use Slip to sneak in — through misdirection or subtle action — but Nox cannot "use Slip" to climb the tower. It's like I'm slipping my way in. The same goes for the fiction. "Hmmm. Setting Precedents If you establish that a skilled NPC can instantly kill an unsuspecting victim. They stagger for a moment but don't go down. but if the player cares enough to keep trying (and facing dangers) they can overcome a string of unlucky rolls and achieve success at a cost. Failing Gracefully The system of Blades in the Dark is designed to fail gracefully. instead. How does this work? The "failure" results for action rolls (1-3) are not simply "misses. Nox wants to sneak in to the secret meeting room of the Circle of Flame. add effect rolls. If you're not sure what to do. But so far you've done it without trouble. In each case. "You want me to tell you that? I don't know. it will be okay. I would have totally brought my wrecker tools on this job. "I told you that Trayga was seen at the docks. right? Kinda hard to hide that. the character is usually already in motion. remember that an effect roll always makes progress. No Whiffing Every time you roll the dice in Blades. but that means she is not climbing the tower. another patrol rounds the corner ahead. If Nox wants to Slip. as well. so that's what she'll roll. If you say something about an NPC and then realize later that it was wrong. a player is free to choose the action they use to overcome an obstacle. something concrete always happens. sure. It's more dangerous. right. Add mechanics when you're comfortable. The GM asks her how she does that and Nox's player says she'll climb the outside of the tower and slip in through a window." For example. Your punch connects with a meaty thud. the guard doesn't spot you. too. and vice versa. This thing they're doing will almost always determine which specific action rating to roll. I forgot to mark it. 17 . you have some effect. you're asking quite a lot. The low effect roll just means that this problem isn't solved yet. No big deal. Can I just take 1 stress and we call it good?" "Works for me. You're not free and clear of this problem yet. then that fact becomes true for NPC-summoned ghosts. love. right?" No. The game will sail along just fine. but their character must perform that action.. On a desperate failure. They snarl and grapple you! She looks at you sideways." Nox's player can change her mind at this point. Then.. The game is better when you use all the details. "Oh! Well that changes things. You don't have to decide on one approach and stick to it. Also. "Oh. However. How to Choose an Action When an action roll is called for. or try to persuade but get ignored. when something bad happens to a PC and they want to resist it.how to use the system part ii Explosions make you look cool when you dive out of the way. I was thinking of someone else. yeah. but the whole thing doesn't come crashing down if you don't. The action has an effect. There's no such thing as a "nothing happens" result from a roll. the character spots a flaw in their approach. If you try to sneak past a guard and roll a 6+." Fly casual. lanterns held high. Okay. a player is free to revise their character's action in order to use a different action rating. What's in it for me?" You slip past the sentry near the stairs. What's true for the PCs is true for the NPCs. the situation changes." In other words. or any other kind of null result. the character's action fails. but the threat hits them.

You're using Murder. The lock on her door is modest. and the murder becomes a team operation. We're going with you. But if Arlyn rolls diminished Finesse effect (1 segment) when she secures entry then maybe the GM steps in and says. yeah? Okay. almost. Then she murders Tress there in her sleep. In Blades. Or maybe Arlyn just walks boldly up the stairs. so everyone is on equal footing. since she's facing danger from a threat. 18 . with desperate follow-ups. and who's on point. I'm gonna sneak in there tonight and kill her. "Heh. okay. because everything comes down to action rolls. etc. "I'm sick of Tress's shit. A guitar is not a piano. "You're sleeping and Arlyn is picking the modest lock on your door. since Arlyn rolls again. You decide which chords to strum and what kind of music comes out. flashbacks and all. just an annoying enemy NPC that needs killing. Tress." This triggers an action roll for Tress. "I don't want any witnesses. and Tress rolls Murder or Mayhem to fight back.. I'm sleeping. Tress isn't that important. then you've just spun out some interesting problems to deal with. quiet as death. Want to keep picking the lock or do something else?" And that complicates things slightly. I don't know?" Another player says. Let's roll and see. Like. The GM doesn't say. "I'm sick of Tress's shit. It's just done.. First Arlyn prowls around to a rear entrance and creeps stealthily up the stairs. It's like a little flashback. Each successful roll accomplishes a concrete goal determined by the player (and affirmed by the group). Discern covers 'anticipate and foresee' actions. Tress isn't a big. with another chance for trouble to creep in. Arlyn's chance of success rises and the stress from resisting effects and such gets spread around the team instead of concentrated on her alone. The player decides what the steps are. It's up to her player. and rolls Force to resist the stabbing. What do you do?" The player says. Maybe Arlyn makes an effect roll to resist if the danger of a witness or evidence manifests. Let's say there's 1 segment left to go. You can totally do this! The GM says." Version I Let's say this is a minor side issue. you can push as hard as necessary. using the fictional details as imagined to prompt the questions about what Arlyn does. past Tress's modest lock. Is it fast and rocking? Slow and moody? Jangly and weird? Up to you. Arlyn's effect rolls for her actions determine how involved it all is. The GM says "Yeah. leading up to the goal of murder. "Okay. Let's look at some examples of playing chords on this guitar. When Arlyn's player says. But since this is an important moment. Maybe the GM says. which determines the action and effect rolls. weak light from cheap lanterns flickers on the cobblestones. by saying what their character wants to accomplish and how they do it. "Uh. Tress's window. You can't just dictate outcomes. This is just like Version II. As GM. Murder in the Night Arlyn (a PC) has found out where her enemy. is dark. I'm gonna sneak in there tonight and kill her. kicks down the door and kills Tress in the ensuing struggle. And if the roll goes badly. and the other players are interested. and it's distinct from other instruments." You want to spend a little time with it. and it's played out action by action. stress. So. first you need to roll Prowl to sneak in. "Oh shit. Let's see how that goes." And you follow the actions and effects to see where it goes. you know where she sleeps now. right. maybe the GM imagines that Tress's modest security is only a 2-segment clock (this is just in her mind. Let's say that Tress is the PC in this scenario. and Arlyn is suddenly on Tress. well. right?" "Oh. Version III Let's say Tress is an important NPC and the whole group is invested in getting rid of her. stabbing away." The GM asks what the plan is." They set the goals and go after them. and then see how effectively she does it. Laborers shuffle to and from work. doesn't derail the session. But they probably skip Arlyn's effect roll on the actual murder. describing the twisty little street where the building with Tress's flat is. powerful NPC." the other players say. avoiding any prying eyes. Version II Let's say this murder is a fairly important thing in the campaign. "You could discern the attack. but with the team at her back. you're gonna kill Tress? Dang.. etc.. but not that modest. There might be a witness or you could leave some evidence behind or something like that. An enemy NPC has discovered where Tress sleeps and decides to sneak in at night and murder her. but she's an important character and everyone is like. I'll start with that. but you're the one who plays it." etc. the GM doesn't decide the steps needed to kill Tress. Here's an aspect of the game that may be interesting if you've played other RPGs.putting ittogether all together putting it all I like to think of the Blades system as a guitar. and it doesn't go well. Maybe this discovery was a long-term project that Arlyn has been doing during her downtime. now you need to roll Secure to pick the lock. The GM sets the scene. but gives Arlyn's player some satisfaction. let's flip it around. resistance. and maybe Tress is a more important enemy NPC now. sounds risky to me. well. she doesn't even bother to write it down). too. Simple and quick. Version IV Just for fun. The player says. four stories up. because no one is really that curious about how thoroughly the murder is done. "What do you do?" And they play it out as a series of actions." And Arlyn's player makes an action roll to accomplish the murder. The system itself gives you an instrument to play the music on. sleeps. a few vendors call out their wares of eel pies and boot-black. Then she secures entry to the flat. You just play in the moment. so I'll Prowl around back and sneak in. It's not like she has a fortress and guards or anything. "Yes. I've built this thing with strings that make particular sounds. Arlyn's player says. Maybe I heard a rumor or got a weird vibe when I went to bed. "You know Arlyn? That killer who hates your guts? I guess she figured out where you sleep because she shows up in the middle of the night to murder you. with specific details. Okay. Cool. just like that. No one has to decide ahead of time how difficult or complicated it is to kill Tress. the GM puts it all in context in a little scene. Maybe that Discern roll is desperate.

action. the group settles on risky. Arlyn's player chooses Murder for her action. effect. & resistance example arlyn vs. then Arlyn is facing danger. maybe the risk would be different. attacking and maneuvering in close combat. But as it stands. it's an 8-segment clock. the Red Sash fighter inflicts a wound with their longsword. There's definitely danger here. 2 The GM makes a progress clock for this obstacle. to delay Arlyn. She successfully makes her attack. The Red Sash fighter stands between her and her goal of reaching the Lampblack's HQ to warn them of an impending Red Sash attack. If she had the longer weapon with more reach. Arlyn makes 2 ticks of progress on the clock. red sash sword fighter stress This sequence of position. Resistance Roll: 5 Partial: 2 stress. Partial: 2 segments. The Red Sash is a dangerous sword-fighter. as seen below. you make an action roll. You do it. Position: Risky Action Roll: 5 Effect Roll: 4 The danger is. If she was taking her time and probing for an opening first. but face the effect of the danger. lasting effects 19 . When a PC pursues a goal that's blocked by an obstacle or danger. She can resist the harm if she takes 2 stress. What is it? Why is this risky? Everyone agrees that it's the obvious thing: the Red Sash will threaten an injury to Arlyn. What's her position? Everyone agrees that it's not controlled. perhaps she wouldn't have to charge in. She rolls for her effect using her Force rating (plus any bonus dice) and gets a 4. She draws her fighting knives and rushes at the Red Sash. Arlyn either takes 2 stress or suffers a lasting effect and records it on her sheet. Arlyn's player accepts the risk and rolls the dice. or Arlyn overcomes the obstacle. the red sash 1 The Situation: Arlyn (a PC) is facing a member of the Red Sashes on a rooftop in Crow's Foot. action. effect. Obstacle: Red Sash Action: Murder red sash sword fighter 3 If the position is risky. But is it risky or desperate? After a brief discussion. or she can instead suffer a lasting effect. Then she rolls to resist the danger of the Red Sash's counter-attack (using her Force rating again) and gets a 5. Since the Red Sash is a highly trained sword-fighter and has the luxury of fighting defensively. 4 Arlyn's player makes an action roll using Murder rating (plus any bonus dice) and gets a 5. the Red Sash can threaten a wound with their longsword right out of the gate. or she's taken out of the fight (by a serious lasting effect). Arlyn's player has described an aggressive attack. but is roughly on equal-footing with Arlyn. and resistance continues until the situation changes. but also faces the danger at hand.

You may spend any ticks you have for desperate moves to supplement other advancement ticks. each PC gets 1 coin (+2 per crew tier) as their share of the profits. Project. or Mask). debts. More than 4 coin is an impractical amount to keep lying around. clear the ticks and choose a new playbook special ability. and what past entanglements come calling. Coin When the crew completes a profitable score. you can take multiple ticks. or add two items from another playbook to your list of item options. The few silver pieces the scoundrels use in their daily lives are not tracked. etc. and mark 1 advancement tick for each item that you did during the previous session. (Level 3 and level 4 skills are locked until you get the Expertise and Mastery crew training upgrades. and mark 1 playbook advancement tick for each item that you did during the previous session. To reflect this. or playbook) to which your character devotes their personal training time. you can take multiple ticks. to development. If the crew has a vault. you count it as advancement for the crew. clear the ticks and choose two (a given item may be chosen twice): ffA new crew upgrade. ffAdd a new special ability. Book.  3 coin: The monthly take of a thriving business. after each score. If your crew has the Training upgrade for that category. a 4/5 becomes a 6. A fine artwork.  2 coin: A fine piece of art. 20 . they can store up to 8 coin. commitments. Any excess must be stashed or spent immediately. otherwise any coin beyond 4 must be spent as soon as possible. See Heat & Development Rolls on page 29. When you mark 4 action category ticks. You can spend coin 1-for-1 to increase the result level of any Acquire Asset. If you've done the same item multiple times. and promises that got you where you are today.  Review your playbook advancement items. a property deed. In addition. roll the Supply action. effect. wouldn't it? Such a waste of quality product. Mark 1 advancement tick in that category. Mark 1 advancement tick in that category. ffIncrease one of your crew effects by 1 (except Renown).  Choose one advancement category (actions. You can't spend desperate move ticks on their own. or add +1 to an effect rating. You can do this after the roll.  1 coin: A coffer of silver pieces. A score is one operation — one smuggling run. one rogue spirit hunt. if you have 1 tick in Blade and 3 ticks in desperate moves. or distributed among the crew members. if such a tragedy were to happen. These activities are called scores. Cloak. I would be only too happy to accommodate her clientele while she got back on her feet. Reduce Heat.advancement advancement & coin & coin “It would be a terrible shame if Madame Tesslyn's lotus supply went up in flames. 1 parcel of silver coins or other bulk currency takes up 1 item slot when carried. If you've done the same item multiple times. Development Your scoundrels and crew didn't just spring into existence tonight. mark +1 advancement tick.) When you mark 6 playbook advancement ticks. And the arsonist would warrant some measure of my gratitude as well. each player does all of the following:  Ask the other players which action category your character best embodied during the previous session (Blade. The monthly take of a small business. and then moving on to a new score.). one jewel heist. Recovery. Coin is an abstract measure of significant wealth. A character can hold up to 2 personal coin.” —Rolan Volaris Scores One way you advance the level of your crew is by executing criminal jobs that suit your crew type. or Gather Information roll. PC Advancement At the end of each session. If a scoundrel wants to toss a few silver around to achieve something. The game will naturally flow from executing a score. You have a complex history of favors. etc. For example. An exquisite jewel. to downtime. you roll dice to find out how much hold they gain. one assassination. to dealing with old debts. clear the ticks and add a dot to one of the actions in that category. they're rewarded with coin. Crew Advancement At the end of each session:  Review the crew advancement items. (So a 1-3 becomes a 4/5. When you mark 6 crew advancement ticks.  4 coin: Liquidating a significant asset—a boat. Of course. you can combine those ticks (4 total) to add a new Blade action dot. which they may keep as spendable currency on hand or permanently stash away for retirement. If the operation was profitable (you got the reward you were going for). how much of their hard-won riches they manage to hold on to. A handful of common jewels.

which may include the actions above as well as: Gather information on the PCs (may be opposed by a PC roll). A PC can take several downtime phases in a row.” —Melvir Kepp Crew Downtime NPC Downtime summary Recover from lasting effects. like working on a long-term project. or to inflict -1 hold on a vulnerable enemy. Okay. fReduce f heat on the crew. See page 28 for the rules for all the downtime rolls. Here. When you're not pursuing a score. Execute an operation (above).downtime downtime “The bone must be reset. fAcquire f use of an asset (including hiring +1 scale worth of people for one of your gangs). Don't worry about the rest. probably. breathe this black lotus vapor while I consult Edvard’s treatise on anatomy. Later. The GM advances their project clocks and chooses a downtime action for each faction that they're interested in at the moment: Restore all of your armor. when you turn your attention to a faction you've ignored for a while. to make an enemy vulnerable. each crew member may do all of the following: Indulge your vice to clear stress. fWork f on a long-term project. you reset and get a "free" downtime phase again. You know what the player is interested in and what they like. GM: Take downtime actions and advance clocks for the factions you're interested in right now. During a downtime phase. the crew recovers from lasting effects (like injuries). start a project—8 segments— called. remember? You want to get to the bottom of that. offer them a project idea. restores their armor. choose one extra downtime action." What do you do to work on that? 21 . In addition. When you have downtime between operations. The NPC crews and factions also do things when you take downtime. Plan an operation to: generate +1 hold. GM: If a player can't decide which special downtime move to pick. or acquiring an asset for the next score. "Weird God Vibes. Achieve a short-term objective they're in position to accomplish. You got that weird vision when you were messing around with the altar to the Forgotten Gods. but each additional downtime costs 1 coin or 1 hold.. When you complete a score. and indulges in vice to clear stress. go ahead and give them several downtime actions and clock ticks to "catch up" to current events. Suggest a project that will head in a fun direction for them.. reducing heat on the crew. Each PC also gets the option to take a special downtime action. Acquire a new asset. I’m afraid. your crew can spend some time recovering and dealing with other issues.

and strange cults everywhere. And he's friends with Inspector Krop. Players have several tools at their disposal to deal with adversity. When things are getting started:  Let everything flow from the fiction. so you're on the rooftop of the fabric store across the alley from their house. when they answer. and consequences will drive everything. Go ahead and say. you can offer the devil's die in exchange for heat or stress. principles. desires. Present the world honestly — things really are stacked against them — but don't make yourself the enemy of the PCs. Don't keep pointless secrets so you can "reveal" them later. but be open to revision. But he'll remember this. When it's your turn to contribute to the game. etc. "Sara. what's the point of entry?" Then." say "Okay. If someone is reasonable. they can roll to resist it. and style. Make clocks like crazy! Keep them out where everyone can see. Duskwall is crowded with factories and their choking soot clouds. where does Silver go?" This puts Silver front and center—his preferences. where do you go to look for the Red Sashes?" not "Sara. hollows." The players will interrupt. and style. desires.). ask questions. good and bad. Infiltration? Okay. flashback. they can make an action roll. GM Actions The player characters have sixteen actions they use. "Silver. Let it come out when it comes out. Then it's easy to know what's at stake when they roll. When they say. sounds like a plan. Give each NPC a name. Action. "Yeah. Show them a threat that's about to hit. When they have to improvise off the cuff or when they're in over their heads.  Paint the world with a haunted brush. Be curious!  Bring Duskwall to life. dim. and reconsider events as needed to accommodate the action of the game. How does the haunted city manifest here?  Surround them with industrial sprawl. Be interested in the characters and excited about their victories.gm gm: goals. Every event has consequences.  Show the downside of their vice. The game's starting situations and your opening scene will put things in motion. Spirits are terrifying. violence. Ask them questions they can answer from within their character's POV —things they know.  Play to find out what happens. If they're hit with trouble. or hope for. Give each action context — the knife fight is on rickety wooden stairs. Who's on point?" they can react in time. Ask how the characters react and see what happens next. remember? Still want to do it?"  Offer a devil's bargain.  Tell them the consequences and ask. 35). How do their connections factor in to the current situation in a problematic way?  Make a progress clock or tick one down. arcane energies. Keep a stack of index cards handy. they'll listen to reason. experienced. detail and a preferred method of problem solving (threats. What one faction loves.). revise. "All right. You have actions. You don't need to "manage" the game. then filter it through Silver. Ask them where their character eats their meals.  Consider the risk. clanking machines. They have enemies enough. and you're not sure what to do. scramble and deal with it! It'll be fun. the Lampblacks' lair stinks of black lotus smoke. Show something only the audience sees. Take a look at the purveyors of vice (p. ironworks. Ask them if this seems desperate. buzzing electric lights. then ask them what they do. Ask them who their character slept with last. Go with your gut. Silver comes to life as a character. cold. GM Principles First and foremost. another hates.  Follow through and hit them hard. the informant huddles among the wreckage of the statue of the Weeping Lady. Think about the risks and dangers inherent in most things the scoundrels do. Friends are really friends — they'll help when they can — but it cuts both ways. they might make controlled moves. you can totally smash him. Find reasons to reveal the cool things in your head.  Ask the players. Events snowball. Think of a fun complication or reckless decision.  Actions ripple through the network. Give each location a specific aspect (crowded. look at your list of actions and pick one.  Hold on lightly. etc. Don't steer the game toward certain outcomes or events. NPCs react according to their goals and methods. It's quiet and dark in there. A risky move is the default action almost all the time.  Be a fan of the PCs. Rewind. There are ghosts and  What plan did you make?  Who scouted it out? (fill in the plan detail)  Who's on point? (cut to the action) And when things are underway:  How do you do that? (which action do you use?)  What's your goal? (which effect do you want?)  Cut to the moment of crisis.  Address the characters. They firebomb your lair while you're sleeping. "We should break in to the Dimmer Sisters' house. "The Unseen told you what would happen if you interfered.  Address the players. If 22 . too. weird sounds. so go ahead and follow through when it hits. What's happening elsewhere? Put it on screen. After every GM move. ask "What do you do?"  Telegraph trouble before it strikes. & actions GM Goals This is what you're trying to accomplish when you run the game. When they've taken great care and are building on successes. You've telegraphed the threat. Call the positions as you see them. How is a certain faction connected to this? How might they know about it?  Think off-screen. how do you want to handle this?" not "How does Silver do that?" This puts Sara front and center — her preferences.  Convey the fictional world honestly. Offer them the bonus die in exchange. If you don't have a good idea. suspect. reaction. wet. bargaining. Sara can consider what she wants. they're probably making desperate moves.

When an NPC is influenced. even if it might be a long or dangerous one. How are you going to contend with that?" When the PCs act in alignment with the interests of NPCs. The most interesting conversations are those that are curious—asking questions and prompting ideas—rather than dogmatic or one-sided. right? They're a witch. Don't be a push over. maybe they have electric lights here. wanted by the spirit wardens. remind the players of their support and friendship. remember? Believable NPCs with interests and capabilities make for a more compelling fictional world. Show them that there's a path to their goal.  Create an atmosphere of inquiry at the table.gm gm: best practices  Convey the ongoing fictional space as accurately as is desirable for this group.  Keep the meta channel open. Invite them to ask their Gather Information questions to dig deeper. The characters have a broad spectrum of senses and intuitions to bring to bear in the fiction. the players know that you do so on behalf of this integrity. when you tell him you'd do anything to help. "But Quellyn won't just go along with all this. ask them about it! "I'm curious. Your job is to convey the fictional world accurately. It's not your job to say "you can't do that. what fictional details convey that change in their situation? Ask the other players for ideas if you want to. Ask the players questions to feed your own interest in the ongoing fiction in which the PCs are the protagonists. Don't contrive events ahead of time or manipulate play to bring them about. Will they go to war with the Fog Hounds? Is Nyla badass enough to take out the thugs by herself? Can they avoid or predict Casta's betrayal? Play to find out. Instead. ask them: "You need to create an opportunity to attempt that. feel.  Earn the trust of the group by being a supportive and fair advocate of the integrity of the fiction. "Which of the position profiles matches your situation here? Taking a calculated risk. remind the players of their interests and capabilities. The game is nothing but a conversation between you and the players. When you're curious about something that a PC says or does.  Ask questions to lead the assessment of the fictional space when engaging the mechanics. tell the players things that are going unsaid. what does that look like? When a PC is hunted by the guards. right?" Ask them how they might create an opportunity they need. The goal of the conversation is to answer the question "What happens now?" in the most engaging way possible. though. Present two possible approaches from that opportunity and ask if they want to choose one or invent a third way. intuit. ask them about any opportunities they have to pursue it. Don't let them flounder. and rolls. When the PCs take action against an NPC. When you portray an NPC. Don't block. and predict. This means you play to find out what happens. not to get your way or to arrange situations to your liking. Use small details when they help to convey a bigger picture. not to make sure something specific happens. Be concise.  Advocate for the interests and capabilities of the NPCs. It's your job to portray a fictional world with integrity." 23 . When you advocate for something. Be curious about what the other players have to say. Help them out by sharing what they might suspect. and they all come on with a massive crackle of energy. When they have a goal.  Bring the elements of the game system to life on screen (especially effects).  Lead an interesting conversation. or is it a reckless move?"  Help the players use the game system to pursue the goals of the characters. the players have only the narrow channel of your few words." You're not the sole authority on what the characters can and cannot do. no.  Don't block. not one that's contrived and "set up" for particular outcomes. Your game series is a cool TV show and you're its biggest fan. "Do they come rushing over with lantern lights trained on you?" "Oh. do you really mean that? Anything? Are you that kind of person? Or are you just manipulating him?" These questions will often lead to goals.  Be a curious explorer of the game in play. approaches.

" If Cross's own Effect roll is enough to overcome the obstacle. etc. In other words. What does that look like on screen? Put it on a card.gm gm: techniques & bad habits Play Goal-Forward. If he hasn't overcome the obstacle yet. despite the odds and dangers? It's done. However. Don't be a skinflint about victories. so get to them! If someone has a cool maneuver or idea. She can resist the harm that results from the fall. Take every opportunity you can to bring the game to life in the minds of the players. Okay then. 24 . This means that Arlyn is forced over the edge and falls off the roof. By putting important things on index cards. Each roll has a concrete result that affects the situation. "Give me a Murder roll. The Red Sash drives her back with a flurry of feints and slashes. Once you know the goal. This bad habit usually happens if you've GM'd other games where this is kinda your job. And here's my bargain: regardless of how this goes. actions. That's already been determined by her Action roll. right? Yes. at best.'" Saying no is boring. that's great. "Hey. but. When a PC faces danger. If he pays the resulting stress cost. 'Assemble the list of all the contraband dealers. they get what they earned. So what happens? This is the classic case where the guard and his partner say. locations. Letting planning get out of hand. trying to elude the notice of their guards. But she can roll to resist." Or tell them to start the first phase of a long-term project clock. don't roll twice for the exact same thing. then he hears that conversation in the distance behind him as he slips inside the temple. Cut to the Action Solicit a goal and plan. The pursuit of opportunities and positions to enable certain approaches. but roleplaying can still be a visual medium in the imagination. That's what they're there for. Arlyn's player makes an Action roll to see how her counter-attack goes and if the danger manifests. Avoid These! Don't Roll Twice for the Same Thing Calling for a specific action roll. but the danger did manifest as a result of the Action roll. They can't plan and discuss their way out of making the rolls. they just started out with negative points on the board. That's desperate. then the guard hasn't raised the alarm or seen Cross's face. have a conversation about opportunities. Always place actions and effects in the fictional context. Use index cards for NPCs. Don't string things out.. then cut to the action and use dice rolls to move the situation forward. The first phase is. Some players will plan an operation forever if no one stops them—even if they hate doing it! They think it's worth the trouble if they can cover every potential issue or avoid some bad outcome. did you see that?" "What?" "Something over there by the pillar. Don't be afraid to resolve something! They want to eliminate Ulf Ironborn and then they plan it and do it. The Resistance roll determines how much of that danger manifests or how bad it is." Offer a devil's bargain! "So. you want to seduce the most experienced madame in the city. She rolls badly and the danger manifests. Let the players lead where the game goes next." or "That's a Consort check" or whatever. with a -1d penalty. You might say. I'm gonna check. But she shouldn't roll to resist being forced over the edge. An idea is not execution. instead: "How do you do that?" Ask them which action they use. "You want to trace every contraband route into Duskwall? Okay. and there's a danger that Arlyn will be forced over the edge during the skirmish. Arlyn is dueling a Red Sash on the roof. it's still a controlled action roll. Poll the group about what goal they're pursuing. It means they needs lots and lots of victories to make it. and have their effect. This is not how Blades in the Dark works. They're good at the game. then he's hidden behind the pillar as the guard strolls over to investigate.. the Action roll determines whether a danger manifests or not.. Where is it happening? Who's there? What's the vibe? What interesting details distinguish this context as the haunted industrialfantasy world of Duskwall? Put it on Screen The game is a conversation. The scoundrels are at the bottom of the faction ladder. but that doesn't mean they're ineffective. A guard notices him! But how much? How alerted is he? Cross's player can roll to resist the effect. but the action happens in the fictional space. There's always a better answer than "no" or "you can't do that. Don't do that! Get used to saying this. Also." "Yeah. If they get into position. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you have an opportunity to do that? How do you want to go about it? Follow this chain of events as actions and consequences play out. leads. Put it in Context The game is a conversation between the real people at the table. everyone can see them spread out on the table and incorporate them into the game. either in the bigger picture of the game (best used at the beginning of a session) or in this microcosm of the present moment (best used when things are underway and the situation is snowballing). Uh huh. The resistance roll answers "how bad is the fall?" Does she simply take some stress and catch herself on a railing on the way down. Everything is resolved by action and effect rolls." "Probably nothing. you can roll Resistance to avoid a bad outcome. and the nested conflicts and that result will drive the action of the game. start a long-term clock. Don't weasel out of it! Things are hard enough on them already. Saying no. though. For example. you fall in love with her. and effects. It's easy to lose track of things if you don't have a record of it. defeats will come without your thumb on the scales. make the roll. job offers. or does she end up with a lasting effect as she breaks her leg when she hits the street? Here's another example: Cross is sneaking into the Red Sash's temple. Don't roll both Action and Resistance to determine the same thing. the acquisition of information and resources.. He rolls Prowl and gets a result that the danger manifests. they make an Action roll. Not giving them what they earn. Describe the action as if it's on screen in a TV show. Bad Habits.

a brutal Skovlander.  Social plan: Social connection. gm principles Be a fan of the PCs. bluecoats of the watch. looking for a whisper to serve. Canter. Morlan. Veleris. Aldo. a merchant of the night market. Birch. Flint. a constable of the watch. Andris. Branon. Make a progress clock or tick one down. Candra. Vauri. Kamelin.  Acquire an asset. Tesslyn. A lover of whisky. Helles. Baszo Baz. Comber. Lewit. Clelland. Arden. Vey. 2 Stress for an elaborate action which involved several special opportunities or contingencies. Edlun. looking to seize a ward. vice Casslyn Mora. Convey the world honestly. Wathen. a mid-level thug with ambitions. Lyssa. attache to the Lord Governor of Duskwall. Keel. Cold and calculating. Mordis.  Deception plan: Method. Vond. Bowman. Amison. Laudius. Scapa. Veretta. Choose the plan the characters have made. Kinclaith. Ereth Skane. a secrets broker. Hides his true appearance under a heavy robe and hood. Address the characters. Grel Oro. rogue spirits possessing the bodies of streetwalkers. Casslyn. Holtz. Ashlyn. Kobb. Tyrconnell. Mylera Klev. Talitha. Skeever. Daphnia. Morriston.  Work on a project clock. Tell them the consequences and ask. Lauria. Merrul Brime. Dunvil. Cinda. a jailor of Ironhook Prison. Face an effect for the character on point. gm actions And when things are underway:  How do you do that? (which action do you use?)  What's your goal? (which effect do you want?) Cut to the moment of crisis. Choose your carried Items. Lady Devira. Haig. Cavelle. a judge-inspector. a merchant of the night market. Concealed. Mist. Cyrene. Jol. Odrienne. Roric. Restore your Armor. establish a detail. Song. teamwork: backup Lead a group action. Edrad. Refuses bribes. Polonia. Prizes fine art. A secret spiritualist and rune-binder. Offer a devil's bargain. Thena. Coil. Belindra. cut to the action. Clave. Orlan. Nail. proprietor of the Devil’s Tooth. Silver. Worn Lean Wiry Huge Chiseled Athletic Stout Scarred Rough Striking Lovely Handsome Slim Delicate Bony Plump Squat Weathered Cold Sad Stern Open Languid Calm Fierce Ulf Ironborn. Myre. Follow through on a setup. Thorn. Taffer. Lorette. Bring Duskwall to Life. Danfield. Clermont. an expert art forger. Remira. Rooting out corruption. Arcy. Noggs. an advocate with unseemly vices. Needle. Frog. Potch. Arquo. Ambiguous. Syra. Hix. Grine. a distiller of essences and potions. Kember. Milos.  Assault plan: Point of attack. When they overindulge or spend coin. Rolan Wot. Sesereth. Address the players. Volette. Assist another character. an advocate with surprising scruples. Consider the risk. Quess. Dalmore. Penalten. People say they’re witches who drink blood.  Infiltration plan: Entry point. Lizete. A smuggler. Una. Levyra. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan. Emeline. Hook. Coleburn. Raffello. Drav. Skinner. Hold on lightly.duskwall notables gm reference gm goals Names Adric. The Eye. Keel. Ask questions! Looks Man. Prichard. Mara. proprietor of the Hooded Fox. Woman. Nyryx and Hoxan. Polix. Brace. Family Names: Brogan. Recover & indulge your Vice. Templeton. flashback stress costs 0 Stress for a normal action for which you had easy opportunity. leader of the Lampblacks. Hellyers. 1 Stress for a complex action or unlikely opportunity. Think off-screen. and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew. Bricks. A cultist. Kristov. Lucella. Elstera Avrathi. Sethla. Vestine. Weaver. Frost. Stavrul. Groll. What do you do? teamwork: on point The Dimmer Sisters. The Hand. Strathmill. Ask the players. Penderyn. resident diplomat of Skovlan. Lenia. Arran. Rowan. Narcus. Overcome a group problem. Brena. Stev. Wester. Corille. a spy and informant with flexible loyalties. leader of the Red Sash gang. Michter. Andrel. a judge with family ties to criminals. Tocker. chief lieutenant. Carissa. a spirit medium. city wards (richest to poorest) Whitecrown Brightstone Six Towers Charterhall Nightmarket Silkshore Coalridge The Docks Crow’s Foot Dunslough Barrowcleft Charhollow locations Undercross Echo Gardens The Night Market The Canals Chalk Street Bridge Candle Street Bridge Gaddoc Rail Station Heartbreak Square The Anvilworks Black Circle Cathedral Hill Bellweather Crematorium Ironhook Prison taverns The Hooded Fox The Hook & Line The Leaky Bucket The Four Roses The Devil’s Tooth The Black Tree The Cat & Candle The Broken Anchor The Red Lamp The Nail & Bottle The Six Arms The Silver Keel The Old Rasp The Moon’s Daughter The Rabbit’s Foot The Harping Monkey action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain. Paint the world with a haunted brush. Thistle. Killed her former boss. a city magistrate on the payroll of criminals. anonymous leader of The Unseen. Kelyr. Slane. A fence. a master painter obsessed with the unnatural. Chime.  Occult plan: Arcane power. Ring. Set up another character. Phin. Show the downside of their vice. Timoth. Roethe. Crowl. a crime boss. Millar. Kurt Skyhold. Naria. Arilyn. Skannon. Krop. resident diplomat of Iruvia. Lannic. Never seen outside their home. Lynthia. Tyrsin Nol. a merchant of the night market. Bird. Denkirk Sol. When things are getting started:  What plan did you make? (and what's the detail?)  Who's on point? Affable Brooding Bright Dark Fair Play to find out what happens. Arvus. Brance. Cross. resident diplomat of Severos. their purveyor may offer them a lead on a new score. Pool. Actions ripple through the network. Telegraph trouble before it strikes. Background (Action) + Fine Item (Effect) . Booker. Reyf. Moon. Carro. Walund. Strangford. Lomond. Let everything flow from the fiction. Surround them with industrial sprawl.

he says he's very sorry to hear that. he has the perfect assignment for thiefy types like them: go steal the Red Sashes treasury from their vault. uh. specifically? (what kind of drug. then ask who's on point. and get to it. or not? What's the plan? Provide the detail. Want to bother to find out what it is. Will you tell him to fuck off? Are you actually here to kill him for the Red Sashes? (If so. or they're all dead. What does it do? It's covered in weird runes and makes your head go swimmy when you hold it in your hand.starting the game starting the game Explain the Situation Read or summarize the info on page 6. "Do you want to rob the Crow's card game on Bell street? It's probably not defended much right now. for you. What's the plan? Provide the detail. She needs assistance if she's gonna seize control of the ward. Ask some of these questions while they do it: Have you ever been locked up? For what crime? Why did you become a scoundrel? How did you join this crew? Did another member vouch for you? Were you a founding member? What's your vice? What is it. Who's on point? Score III Lyssa is vulnerable. One of the gang leaders (Bazso Baz or Mylera) offers you a score: Plant this strange artifact somewhere in their rival's HQ.) Why does that thing consume you? Who do you trust the most on the crew? Who do you trust the least? What's that about? Or will we find out in play? Has [faction] ever tried to recruit you ? What happened? You. Use the scores tables on page 40 for ideas. He wants your answer. What's the plan? Provide the detail. or against them? What do you say? Will you side with the Lampblacks? Will you just pretend to? (Good luck. and Lyssa all have thiefy things that need doing. Mylera. Profit and status both. Give them straightforward avenues to pursue at first. Who's on point? 26 . Score I Don't waste time waffling around. How can the players use their crew's strengths to profit from this situation? Ask them how they want to gather information. What are they gonna do? The Next Scenes Play the NPCs. Where is it? Maybe it's a secret. which leads to a plan (or vice versa). do you? The First Scene After they make characters and the crew.) Play Bazso. Are you with them. or do they have to take a stand? Plenty of material to work with there. Offer those. ask them which they want to pursue. at right. Bazso Baz. Score II The Campaign This quick start isn't really meant for a campaign. you can easily play out the consequences of the starting situation over several sessions. If they're with him. Ask them to pick a plan and provide the detail. React to their answer how he'd react. Steal some loot and bring it to her to help her pay for bribes and thugs to seize the ward. Also. They better get off his turf and stay out of the war. If they're against him. each faction is vulnerable to thievery in some way. He threatens them with easy confidence. tell them this: You're in the office of the Lampblack's leader. so they'll offer the PCs jobs (until the PCs make an enemy of them. One of the gang leaders (Bazso Baz or Mylera) offers you a score: Go rob the treasury of their rival. don't secretly work for them. Bazso. of course)." Who's on point? There are three sample starting scores. but. Bazso is very sharp). Who ends up running the ward? Do the PCs use the situation to rise up in the faction ranks? Do they manage to play for all three sides. do a flashback and pick a plan for the assassination. etc. Make Characters and the Crew Follow the procedures on page 31 and page 38.

Then. You may back out now (abandon this method of action) or go ahead with it by rolling a risky move. + +1d if you have a Fine Item. elite. 1-3: Things go badly. - -1d if your opposition is especially resistant to this effect.action. The danger manifests. 6: You do it! 4/5: You do it with reduced effect (-1 level). . 4 segments. or well-prepared opposition. Crit: You do it with increased effect (+1 level) and you may create an additional opportunity that follows on from this action. -1d if you're smaller. they're outclassed. 4/5: Your effect is partial. You must abandon this approach or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. choose: Abandon this goal (you can’t achieve it for now) or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. You take a calculated risk. effect roll 1d for each Effect diamond . Each time you roll a desperate move. When there's a difference in Scale. 1 segment. + +1d if the target matches your Background. Scale (applies to effect and resistance rolls) Mismatch: +1d if you're larger. reverse the large / small modifiers above. or you may choose to overreach and get +1 effect level but also face effect from the danger. when one PC fights a small gang. You’re stuck in a bad position. use the modifiers at right for Effect and Resistance rolls. mark a tick of desperate move xp on your character sheet. effect & resistance rolls action roll 1d for each Action dot. You take time to carefully execute a plan. + +1d if you have a Fine Item. Outclassed: Larger gets critical effect. 1-3: It gets worse! First. -1 result level if you're smaller. + +1d for the Devil’s Bargain 6: You do it but the danger manifests. 4/5: You do it but the danger manifests. 6 segments. You act under fire. - -1d if you’re hindered by any relevant lasting effects. they're mismatched. 1-3: You reveal a flaw in this approach that will expose you to danger. Smaller has a diminished effect. + +1d for Backup (they take stress). Overwhelmed: +1 result level if you're larger. 0 stress. 6: Your effect is complete. For example. Then. 2 segments. 4/5: Things go badly. - -1d if your opposition is especially potent with this effect. - -1d if you face veteran. choose: Abandon this approach (you'll have to try another way) or try again by taking a bigger risk and rolling a desperate move. When the four PCs try to defeat the patrols and security systems of a Tier III facility. Critical: You resist fully. 6: You resist it if you take 1 stress. 1-3: You resist it if you take 4 stress. You face a threat that’s out of your league. If larger size is a hindrance. First. 4/5: You resist it if you take 2 stress. Desperate Risky Controlled Crit: You do it and avoid the danger. the danger manifests. 1-3: Your effect is diminished. resistance roll Critical: Your effect is extreme. You exploit a dominant position. you face a more potent effect from the danger (-1 to your resistance result level). You take a huge risk on a slim chance. You face a dangerous opponent on equal footing. or try for full effect by taking a bigger risk and rolling a risky move. 6: You do it and avoid the danger. 1d for each Effect diamond . Crit: You do it with increased effect (+1 effect result level). You hedge your bets and play it safe. See page 20.

Increase the rolled result level by +1 for each parcel of coin you spend.downtime rolls recovery roll 1d for each Action dot. This may be a single instance (like pouring a vial of poison into a goblet. Heal Thyself You may attend to yourself but it’s far from ideal. If you have several different types of harm to recover. Critical: You may acquire a rare or unusual form of a fine asset. . if you’re interested. 6: Advance the clock by 4 segments. You pawn off your assets to pay for a massive indulgence in your vice. 1d for each Renown rating. 1-3: The asset isn't available right now. social. and rolls to indulge their vice. it’s for “one use” only. Critical: Advance the project clock by 6 segments. 4/5: You clear 2 stress. Lost. 1d for each Supply action dot. Play a different character (maybe "graduate" one of the NPCs from your crew's units to PC status) until this one returns. etc. Your current purveyor cuts you off and you need to find a new source for your vice. They may choose one additional action from the rolls on this page. Increase the rolled result level by +1 for each parcel of coin you spend. Leads: If you spend coin or overindulge. reduce heat roll Critical: You clear 6 stress. A character may perform additional downtime actions. 6: Tick 4 segments of recovery. 4/5: You acquire a standard asset. Increase the rolled result level by +1 for each parcel of coin you spend. occult. vice roll 1d for each Vice rating. 1d for each Action dot. You let word get around about your vice problem. 1-3: Tick 1 segment of recovery. you treat one type of harm­ — physical. 1-3: You clear 1 stress. 6: You acquire a fine asset. acquire asset roll Critical: Tick 6 segments of recovery. 1-3: Advance the clock by 1 segment. 4/5: Reduce heat level by 2. rolls to recover from lasting effects. When you have downtime. You suffer 1 stress. Mark the status box with a slash to show the temporary reduction. Lose access to all but one of your personal items or gear (it’s your choice which one to keep) until you next complete a profitable job. Critical: Reduce heat level by 4. for 1 coin or 1 hold each. You really overdo it. Tapped. 4/5: Tick 2 segments of recovery. 1-3: Reduce heat level by 1. the purveyor will be willing to discuss a lead on a new criminal job. When you recover. You lose yourself in your vice. Bad Rep. each PC restores all of their armor. or luring a rogue ghost into a spirit bottle) or a single period of use (like hiring a boat for a couple hours). Increase the rolled result level by +1 if you choose an overindulgence. 6: Reduce heat level by 3. Temporary Use When you acquire an asset this way. Increase the rolled result level by +1 for each parcel of coin you spend. work on a long-term project Overindulgences Broke. Increase the rolled result level by +1 for each parcel of coin you spend. you must take additional downtime actions. Lose one status level with your least understanding faction connection until you assure them that you’re reliable. 4/5: Advance the clock by 2 segments. 6: You clear 4 stress.

Devastating exposure. An equal. A +3 status faction asks you for a favor. 6: Cooperation. Set the default hold reward based on the importance of the target: 1 hold per Tier of the target. Pay them 1 hold or 1 coin. Medium exposure. The bad news is: wanted level marks are permanent. 4: Opportunists. Pay them 1 coin or agree to perform the favor they ask. If you don't have a +3 faction status. 4d Wild. 6: Cooperation. serious wealth. A faction with whom you have a neutral status throws their weight around. 5: Investigation. or deal with it yourself. below. 6: Your crew gains +1 hold and +1 coin.  4 coin: A major score. 5: The Law. below. Roll an entanglement. If you need to take heat. Pay them off with 2 coin or take +2 heat. Modify the default coin and hold rewards based on the outcome of the development roll. 4/5: The crew takes 2 heat. An Inspector of the watch has started a file on your crew's crimes. reset your heat to zero and advance your Renown by 1 (this is the only way to advance Renown). You may give them 1 coin or 1 hold in exchange for a favor of your choosing. Roll an entanglement. attract the attention of the law. The rogue spirit of a past victim finds its way to you. 3: Old Debts. Roll an entanglement. +1 hold if the target is in the public eye or is high profile in some other way. A demon approaches the crew with a dark offer. 1-3: Your crew gains hold -orcoin. 1d Smooth & quiet. A +3 status faction asks you for a favor. Pay them off with 1 coin or take +1 heat. +1 result level for a high profile target.heat & development rolls heat roll When you complete a score Roll dice based on the events of last session: Critical: The crew takes 6 heat. Crime Pays Set the default coin reward based on the nature of the score: Wanted Level  1 coin: Small job. When you complete a successful score Critical: Your crew gains +2 hold and +2 coin. 2d Under control. . Agree to do it or give them 1 hold. Pay 1 coin to a Whisper or Rail Jack to exorcise it. High exposure. 1-3: The crew takes 1 heat. development roll 1d for each crew Resources effect diamond. 4/5: Your crew gains the default rewards. Entanglements (Heat level 1-4) Entanglements (Heat level 5-8) 1: Unquiet Dead. below. roll Heat. Give them 2 hold or endure whatever comes of their betrayal. if the score was a success. Then. Roll an entanglement. -1 result level if the action happened on turf you or a friendly (+3 status) Your wanted level represents the threat level of Bluecoats and Inspectors sent after you when you faction control. you must mark a box of wanted level instead. Low exposure. a fine haul. or go to war.  2 coin: Standard crime work. you avoid entanglements right now. 3d Loud & chaotic. A faction with whom you have a negative status makes a play on your turf. or deal with it yourself. but don't have any boxes left. 6: The crew takes 4 heat. Pay 2 coin to a Whisper or Rail Jack to exorcise it. 4: The Little Guy. If you don't have a +3 faction status. nothing fancy. 1: Demonic Notice. The rogue spirit of a vindictive enemy finds its way to you. to build a case for your arrests.  3 coin: Something special. The Bluecoats aren't messing around right now. + +1d if killing was involved. or lose 1 status with them. Accept it or hide until it loses interest in you and lose 2 hold. A friend calls in their marker. When you complete a score. 3: Show of Force.or lower-tier crew asks you for a hand. decent loot. The good news is: when you mark a wanted level. below. you avoid entanglements right now. roll Development.or lower-tier crew plans to betray you to facilitate their climb up the ladder. 2: Vengeful Dead. An equal. 2: Rivals. Agree to do it or give them 2 hold. Pay them 2 hold or 2 coin.

Brena. forge documents. Noggs. Polonia. secure an area against infiltration. Pool. Millar. Will) in addition to those already marked. Casslyn. Dalmore. No action may be higher than 2 (until you unlock Expert training for the crew). Cyrene. Coil. remain inconspicuous.  Command obedience with your force of personality. Skinner. Daphnia. Thistle. Thena. long-time ally. Edlun. Stev. intimidate or threaten. Ex. Clave. Walund. Branon. make a convincing case. Dunvil. Book (the actions of knowledge and reason).  Discern what's really going on.. Kinclaith. anticipate and foresee. Arcy. you look like an operative on a mission). Looks Man. Bricks. Danfield. 5. 3. Templeton. No effect may begin higher than 2 (but may advance further after character creation). Stavrul. Academic: Former Legal Advocate. Vestine.  Murder a target with precision violence. Affable Brooding Bright Dark Fair Worn Lean Wiry Huge Chiseled Tricorn Hat Long Coat Hood & Veil Short Cloak Knit Cap Slim Jacket Hooded Coat Athletic Stout Scarred Rough Striking Tall Boots Mask & Robes Suit & Vest Thick Greatcoat Loose Silks Waxed Coat Long Scarf Lovely Handsome Slim Delicate Bony Plump Squat Weathered Cold Sad Stern Open Languid Calm Fierce . Booker. Brace. Tocker. Skeever. trace supply routes for goods and services. Wester. Vond. Rowan. execute a killing and leave little evidence. Choose A Favorite Friend You begin with all of your friends. Your vice rating begins at 1. Flint. Concealed. Keel. Tyrconnell.  Stalk a target to discover where it is. brawl and wrestle. Orlan. Lizete. 4 or 5: Normal (you look like a scoundrel. Slane. Emeline. Volette. Song. Keel. Strangford. Playbooks aren’t unique — multiple players can choose the same one. Candra. Ex. engage in skillful combat. Arquo. conceal your true intentions. where it's going. & Look Actions Actions are grouped into four categories: Blade (the bloody actions of battle). bribe or coerce with money. Record Name. Vey. ancient lore. or bluff. Remira. Lynthia.  Sway attitudes and behavior with charm.  Tinker with devices and chemistry to create. Kelyr. Choose a Background . Coleburn. Bird. Clermont. Talitha. slip an item out of someone's pocket. Hellyers.  Slip away from scrutiny or suspicion. fight in a group skirmish. Ashlyn. Cavelle.  Attune to spiritual forces and electroplasmic energy. Carissa. Quess. Woman. Grine. Note: the Veteran ability can be taken twice. Hix. The number of items you check determines your movement speed and conspicuousness (items in italics don't count toward your load): 3: Light (you’re faster and less conspicuous. Comber. 4. gain a deeper understanding. Andrel. 2. Michter. remove a lasting effect penalty for one sequence of action. employ codes and secret messages.  Mayhem wrecks with savage force. focus and judge. or lover. 9. Hook. Bowman. Silver. Edrad. Naria. Mark the one who is a close friend.and detail it with your specific history. Skovlan: Ore Miners. Assign Action Dots Assign 6 dots (in addition to those already marked for your playbook). Insight.  Secure entry into a protected area by defeating locks and avoiding alarms or traps. Clelland.  Consort with your friends and contacts to discover information or gain access to people or places. You indulge your vice to clear stress. Family Names: Brogan. Una. Cloak (the subtle actions of the shadows). execute an action with one of the crew's units. 6.character creation 1. 2. Alias. blend in a crowd. Holtz. Birch. disguise. Note that the Cutter playbook can carry a heavier load. Skannon. acquire new connections. Sesereth. Lomond. Choose Your Vice Pick your preferred vice from the list. Potch. Brance. Assign Effect Diamonds Assign 3 diamonds to effects (Force. detect lies. use misdirection or distraction. manipulation. or bravado. and occult practices. Wathen. which is why it has two dots. Nail.  Cipher information with books and academic knowledge. or repair. Frost. Weaver.. Each time you choose it. Morriston. Mist. modify. Prichard. Milos. sleight of hand. Frog. Chime. Finesse. Syra. rituals. Cross. Veretta. Needle. Kristov.. Lucella. Haig. Drav. Lenia. Effects  Force: How hard do you hit? How strong is your hold? How scary is your display of violence? How badly do you wreck it?  Finesse: How quickly or smoothly do you do it? How much ground do you cover? How good is the position you take? How subtle is your action?  Insight: How much do you find out? How detailed or broad is the information? How accurately can you predict with this knowledge?  Will: How strong is your will? How thorough is your influence over someone else? How brave are you? How much inner energy can you muster? Names Adric. Vauri. Roethe. Arvus. Helles. Myre. Kobb. Thorn. Penalten.  Supply the temporary use of an asset by mustering finances.and detail it with a note about your family life. Choose a Heritage . 7. their special abilities. put the pieces together. 8. Crowl. Sethla. you can blend in with citizens). ready for trouble). Carro.. Aldo. seduce and lure. Timoth. Some items count as two items for load (they have two connected boxes).  Prowl about unseen and overcome physical obstacles. 6: Heavy (you’re slower. do research. Corille.  Deceive with falsehoods. general athletic ability. Amison. evade questions and scrutiny. Veleris. and who's connected to it. Odrienne. fill one dot. Penderyn. Kamelin. understand spectrology. and how they advance. Lorette. Phin. Check the boxes for the items you're currently carrying. Canter. Laudius. Strathmill. and Mask (social actions). Choose Playbook Your playbook represents the nature of your character. Arran. Ambiguous. Scapa. Narcus. Ring. Lauria. Choose Items Carried You own all of your items.  Stitch up wounds and provide long-term care. Moon. Tesslyn. where it's been. Morlan. Mara. Arilyn. Arden. Choose a Special Ability Choose 1 starting special ability.

vice affiliation—drink—drugs—faith—gambling—lovers—luxuries—weird         Wolfpack: Take 1 stress to give your team +1 Force in battle.  Deception plan: Method. Recover & indulge your Vice. battleborn lasting effects coin     notes Not to be Trifled With: In combat. (5)Normal. . establish a detail. influence.  Work on a project clock. Veteran: Choose a special ability from another playbook.  Solve a problem with violence. a pugilist   Thena. a vicious thug   blade        command        mayhem        murder        stitch book        attune        cipher        supply        tinker cloak        prowl        secure        slip        stalk mask        consort        deceive        discern        sway Mercy. Set up another character. moment to moment. obsessions.  Express your character's flaws. heritage:   akoros—dagger isles— background: academic—bluecoat—labor— iruvia—severos—skovlan—tycheros merchant—noble—underworld Not As Bad As It Looked: After a battle. Items in italics don't count. your choice.     items (3. a clever blade   playbook advancement  Defeat a superior opponent.  Social plan: Social connection. or resource. Experienced: Choose an additional background with which  you get a bonus. you get +1d. clear 1 stress. a veteran warrior   Chael. Restore your Armor.  Acquire an asset. A Blade or Two  Throwing Knives  A Pistol & Shot  A Large Weapon  An Unusual Weapon  Armor   +Heavy  Burglary Tools  Climbing Gear  Books / Maps  Spectrology Gear  Subterfuge Supplies  Tinkering Tools  A small personal item  teamwork: on point teamwork: backup Lead a group action. Face an effect for the character on point.4)Light. Follow through on a setup. an extortionist   Stras. Fine hand weapon   Fine large weapon   Manacles & chain   Rage essence vial   Wrecker tools   Concealed blade   Spiritbane charm   dangerous friends Marlane. or shortcomings. you ignore 1 level of  scale (you fight a small gang on equal footing). (6.cutter special abilities look Deadly: Any attack you make in combat does +1 effect or  ignores 1 armor. Choose your carried Items. desperate rolls effects force         finesse         insight         will         action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain Your Background matches + the target. and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew.  name stress trauma armor +heavy Battleborn: You get special armor against physical attacks in  combat. stash     Daring: When you roll 1-3 and choose to try again with more  risk.  Destroy an enemy’s asset. When you roll a critical in combat.  Assault plan: Point of attack. you instantly get  two ticks toward recovering from lasting effects.  Infiltration plan: Entry point.  Occult plan: Arcane power.7)Heavy. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan. a cold killer   Grace. Overcome a group problem. secrets. Choose the plan the characters have made. Assist another character. cut to the action.

obsessions. desperate rolls effects force         finesse         insight         will         action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain Your Background matches + the target.  Social plan: Social connection.     items (3)Light. Cold: You get special armor vs. Experienced: Choose an additional background with which  you get a bonus. (4. a physicker   Veleris.5)Normal.  etc. Fine pair of pistols   Fine long rifle   Electroplasmic ammunition   A fine trained hunting pet   Far-sight spyglass   Concealed blade   Spiritbane charm   deadly friends Bell. you and your team get +1d effect against them.  Acquire an asset. Choose your carried Items. weakened.  look heritage:   akoros—dagger isles— background: academic—bluecoat—labor— iruvia—severos—skovlan—tycheros merchant—noble—underworld vice affiliation—drink—drugs—faith—gambling—lovers—luxuries—weird         stress trauma armor +heavy coin     notes Predator: Take +1d to rolls against injured. Restore your Armor. establish a detail. A Blade or Two  Throwing Knives  A Pistol & Shot  A Large Weapon  An Unusual Weapon  Armor   +Heavy  Burglary Tools  Climbing Gear  Books / Maps  Spectrology Gear  Subterfuge Supplies  Tinkering Tools  A small personal item  teamwork: on point teamwork: backup Lead a group action. Choose the plan the characters have made. Marked Target: When you gather information about a  person. cold lasting effects Unorthodox: Take 1 stress to substitute one effect rating for  another. influence. a duelist   Oman.hound special abilities name Detached: Take -1d to an action roll to clear 1 stress. clear 1 stress. Follow through on a setup.  Work on a project clock. When you roll a critical while hunting a target. mental effects (fear. stash     Daring: When you roll 1-3 and choose to try again with more  risk. or  vulnerable targets. an assassin   Celene.  Express your character's flaws. Veteran: Choose a special ability from another playbook. Items in italics don't count. confusion.  Deception plan: Method. or shortcomings. you get +1d. a bounty hunter   playbook advancement  Hunt or ambush a challenging target. Face an effect for the character on point. a sentinel   blade        command        mayhem        murder        stitch book        attune        cipher        supply        tinker cloak        prowl        secure        slip        stalk mask        consort        deceive        discern        sway Melvir Kepp. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan. a spy   Casta.  Seize control of an enemy's asset. or resource.).  Establish your dominance over a person or situation. Recover & indulge your Vice.  Infiltration plan: Entry point. secrets. Set up another character. (6)Heavy. Assist another character. . and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew.  Occult plan: Arcane power. Overcome a group problem. cut to the action.  Assault plan: Point of attack.

Items in italics don't count.  Social plan: Social connection. Daring: When you roll 1-3 and choose to try again with more  risk. or interesting location.  Assault plan: Point of attack. a bluecoat   Frake.  Scout: When you fill segments of a progress clock for any  kind of reconnaissance or infiltration.  Express your character's flaws. A Blade or Two  Throwing Knives  A Pistol & Shot  A Large Weapon  An Unusual Weapon  Armor   +Heavy  Burglary Tools  Climbing Gear  Books / Maps  Spectrology Gear  Subterfuge Supplies  Tinkering Tools  A small personal item  teamwork: on point teamwork: backup Lead a group action.lurk blade special abilities name Ambush: When you attack from hiding or spring a prepared  trap. Shadow: You get special armor vs. Experienced: Choose an additional background with which  you get a bonus.  Occult plan: Arcane power.  Execute an operation without being detected. challenging. Restore your Armor.  Infiltration plan: Entry point. a bounty hunter   playbook advancement  Discover a powerful or compromising secret. or shortcomings. a beggar   Darmot. Assist another character. for +1d.  Work on a project clock.  Infiltrate a new. (4. Recover & indulge your Vice. clear 1 stress. look heritage:   akoros—dagger isles— background: academic—bluecoat—labor— iruvia—severos—skovlan—tycheros merchant—noble—underworld vice affiliation—drink—drugs—faith—gambling—lovers—luxuries—weird         stress trauma armor +heavy shadow lasting effects coin     notes stash     Composure: Add an additional stress box. Choose your carried Items. Face an effect for the character on point. Set up another character. a city clerk   Loop. a locksmith          command        mayhem        murder        stitch book        attune        cipher        supply        tinker cloak        prowl        secure        slip        stalk mask        consort        deceive        discern        sway Roslyn Kellis. Fine lockpicks   Fine. obsessions. light climbing gear   Shadow essence vial   Silence potion vial   Dark-sight goggles   Concealed blade   Spiritbane charm   keen friends Telda. establish a detail. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan. and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew. Follow through on a setup. Veteran: Choose a special ability from another playbook. a noble   Petra.     items (3)Light. secrets. add +1d to your roll. fill +1 segment.  Intensity: You may spend 2 stress on any roll. you get +1d. detection and security.  Acquire an asset.  When you roll a critical on an athletic feat or during an infiltration. Overcome a group problem.5)Normal. .  Deception plan: Method. cut to the action. desperate rolls effects force         finesse         insight         will         action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain Your Background matches + the target. Choose the plan the characters have made. (6)Heavy.

Items in italics don't count. Assist another character. stash     Daring: When you roll 1-3 and choose to try again with more  risk. . a jail-bird          command        mayhem        murder        stitch book        attune        cipher        supply        tinker cloak        prowl        secure        slip        stalk mask        consort        deceive        discern        sway Arlynne. lover. an informant   playbook advancement  Gain someone’s trust or betray someone who trusts you. take +1d to rolls to escape. Veteran: Choose a special ability from another playbook.  Social plan: Social connection. name stress trauma armor +heavy suspicious lasting effects coin     notes Trust in Me: You get +1d when you roll vs. (6)Heavy. you get +1d.  Express your character's flaws. clear 1 stress. a target you have  a relationship with. Set up another character. or shortcomings. Choose the plan the characters have made.  When you roll a crit while manipulating someone. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan. heritage:   akoros—dagger isles— background: academic—bluecoat—labor— iruvia—severos—skovlan—tycheros merchant—noble—underworld I’m Outta Here: When your cover is blown or you need to  flee. ally.  Pass yourself off as someone or something you’re not. cut to the action. Follow through on a setup.  Infiltration plan: Entry point. Choose your carried Items. Face an effect for the character on point. a prostitute   Lanette.  Occult plan: Arcane power. Suspicious: You get special armor vs.  Work on a project clock. (4. a gang leader   Harker. establish a detail. a tavern owner   Nyryx.5)Normal. obsessions. Overcome a group problem.  Acquire an asset. A Blade or Two  Throwing Knives  A Pistol & Shot  A Large Weapon  An Unusual Weapon  Armor   +Heavy  Burglary Tools  Climbing Gear  Books / Maps  Spectrology Gear  Subterfuge Supplies  Tinkering Tools  A small personal item  teamwork: on point teamwork: backup Lead a group action.  Deception plan: Method. persuasion or deception.     items (3)Light. rival.slide blade special abilities look Ace: When you lead a group action using your highest-rated  action. Fine clothes & jewelry   Fine disguise kit   Fine loaded dice. Experienced: Choose an additional background with which  you get a bonus. a drug dealer   Bazso Baz. you suffer 1 less total stress from the failed rolls. Recover & indulge your Vice. desperate rolls effects force         finesse         insight         will         action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain Your Background matches + the target. secrets.  Make a new friend. or enemy. vice affiliation—drink—drugs—faith—gambling—lovers—luxuries—weird         Adaptation: Take 1 stress to substitute one action rating for  another. and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew. trick cards   Trance powder   A cane-sword   Concealed blade   Spiritbane charm   low friends Bryl. Restore your Armor.  Assault plan: Point of attack.

desperate rolls effects force         finesse         insight         will         action roll bonus dice + Assist (They take 1 stress) + Devil's Bargain Your Background matches + the target. or  weapon.  Occult plan: Arcane power. Overcome a group problem. Set up another character. a vampire   blade        command        mayhem        murder        stitch book        attune        cipher        supply        tinker cloak        prowl        secure        slip        stalk mask        consort        deceive        discern        sway Setarra. Veteran: Choose a special ability from another playbook. establish a detail. supernatural effects. heritage:   akoros—dagger isles— background: academic—bluecoat—labor— iruvia—severos—skovlan—tycheros merchant—noble—underworld Compel: You can attune to the ghost field to compel a spirit  or demon to follow a direct instruction you give it. (4. Recover & indulge your Vice. or shortcomings.  Infiltration plan: Entry point.5)Normal. Costs stress equal to the magnitude of the being (2-6). Restore your Armor. demon.  Social plan: Social connection. cut to the action.     items (3)Light. gather information planning downtime  What do they intend to do?  What might I suspect based on this?  What's the danger here?  Where could I go to find X?  Ask about a detail for a plan.  Acquire an asset. name stress trauma armor +heavy beyond lasting effects coin     notes Summon: Perform a ritual to force a supernatural being to appear  before you. obsessions. and choose 1:  Reduce heat on the crew. a demon   Quellyn. A Blade or Two  Throwing Knives  A Pistol & Shot  A Large Weapon  An Unusual Weapon  Armor   +Heavy  Burglary Tools  Climbing Gear  Books / Maps  Spectrology Gear  Subterfuge Supplies  Tinkering Tools  A small personal item  teamwork: on point teamwork: backup Lead a group action. a witch   Flint. vice affiliation—drink—drugs—faith—gambling—lovers—luxuries—weird         Strange Methods: When you tinker with a device. Fine spirit anchor   Fine lightning-hook   Fine spirit mask   Demon blood vials   Ghost key   Demonbane charm   Spiritbane charm   strange friends Nyryx. control. or other occultist.  Dominate. stash     Daring: When you roll 1-3 and choose to try again with more  risk.  Learn something new about spectrology or demonic lore. Choose your carried Items. (6)Heavy. you get +1d. Face an effect for the character on point.  Express your character's flaws. Assist another character. Choose the plan the characters have made. When  you roll a critical while dealing with arcane powers. Experienced: Choose an additional background with which  you get a bonus.  Deception plan: Method. . Costs stress equal to the magnitude of the energy (0-4). a rogue spirit   Scurlock. or destroy a ghost. clear 1 stress.  Work on a project clock.  Assault plan: Point of attack. secrets. you may include electroplasmic or arcane features. Follow through on a setup. a spirit trafficker   playbook advancement  Solve a problem with arcane power or knowledge. Beyond: You get special armor vs. a possessor ghost   Hoxan. tool. Items in italics don't count.whisper special abilities look Channel: Use electroplasmic energy to produce supernatural  effects.

  Burglary Tools: A set of lockpicks. A spirit bottle.   Grappling hooks. to pass as a wealthy noble. an impressive array of expert appliances to fool the eye. Measuring devices.   Electroplasmic ammunition: A bandolier of electroplasmicly charged shot. designed to break and splatter on impact. A climbing harness with loops and metal rings. slow to reload. like a battle-axe. a vial of ink. A jeweler's loup. resistance to pain. Costume jewelry.   Spectrology Gear: A vial of quicksilver. A   weapon of war. which induces knives. Fine long rifle: A finely crafted hunting rifle. Suitable for grappling a spirit and dragging it into a spirit bottle. which   Trance powder: A dose of the popular drug.   Demon blood vials: A small set of tough crystalline vials.standard items cutter items slide items   A Blade or Two: Perhaps you carry a pair of large fighting   Fine hand weapon: A finely crafted one-handed weapon   Fine clothes and jewelry: An outfit of such fine make as   Fine large weapon: A finely crafted two-handed weapon   Fine disguise kit: A theatrical make-up kit equipped with   Manacles and chain: A set of heavy manacles and chain. releasing an ink-dark cloud.   Subterfuge supplies: A theatrical make-up kit. Vials of oil to silence squeaky hinges. Climbing Gear: A large coil of rope.   Silence potion vial: A vial of golden liquid that negates all   Dark-sight goggles: A mechanist device that allows the wearer to see in pitch darkness as if it were day.   Fine loaded dice. heavy stone. steel-toed boots. a dreamlike state.   Far-sight spyglass: A device which allows you to see   Tinkering Tools: A set of tools for detailed mechanist work.   Ghost key: An arcane device which can open ghost doors.   Spiritbane Charm: A small arcane trinket which ghosts sound within 10 paces of the drinker for a span of several minutes.   Fine spirit mask: An arcane item which allows the trained user to see arcane energies in great detail. two-handed pole with a   loop of heavy wire at the end. Fine lightning-hook: A long. containing blood from demons. A forged badge of office. Or a sword and dagger. A small pouch of sand. disguised as a noble's cane. clearly over extreme distances. A set of iron pitons and a small mallet.   A fine trained hunting pet: An animal companion that obeys your commands and anticipates your actions. a flail. A small coil of rope. A number of interesting maps. whisper items   Fine spirit anchor: An arcane item which can hold a ghost in place near it. deadly   at long range. A reversible cloak and distinctive hat.   +Heavy: The addition of chain mail or metal plates.   Fine.   A cane-sword: A slim sword and its sheath. and irrational aggression for the span of several minutes.   A Pistol & Shot: A flintlock pistol. suitable for restraining a prisoner. a metal helm. subtly altered to favor particular outcomes. A spirit anchor in the form of a small.   Throwing Knives: A brace of six light blades. Blank pages. of your choice.   Armor: A heavy leather tunic with a high collar. Heavy gloves. A vial of electroplasm. prefer to avoid. Wrecker tools: A heavy sledgehammer and crowbar. a shovel. Or A heavy cleaver and long stiletto. A pouch of black salt. ready for the forger's hand. a hatchet. light climbing gear: A finely crafted set of climbing gear which is less bulky and heavy than a standard set. trick cards: Gambling accoutrements   Rage Essence Vial: A single dose of Rage Essence. a length of chain. A whip. A coil of wire and fishing hooks. A selection of blank documents. of a species of your choice. suitable for of your choice. warhammer.   An Unusual Weapon: A curiosity of the blacksmith's art or a tool turned into a weapon. or pole-arm. A small pry-bar. . prefer to avoid. hound items   Fine pair of pistols: A pair of finely crafted pistols. a pen. heavy gloves. throwing. connected to an electroplasmic capacitor. Also affords some measure of protection against ghostly possession. a razor-edged fan. lurk items   Demonbane charm: An arcane trinket which demons   Fine lockpicks: A finely crafted set of lockpicks.   Books / Maps: A small collection of slim volumes on a variety of topics. greatsword. devastating at 12 paces. Up to you. A Large Weapon: A weapon meant for two-hands.   Iron spikes.   Shadow essence vial: A vial of shadow essence designed to break and splatter on impact. suitable for harming spirits and demons. A small pouch of chalk dust. A small pouch of powder and shot. greatly enhances the user's strength.

Renown Your Renown starts at 1. This upgrade costs 3 advances to unlock. and deathlands scavengers. Rooks.crew creation 1. and maps. maps. Your renown advances when your Wanted Level increases. and Rovers)? Killers: Your crew has a gang of assassins and murderers. Lair Details. and case files for use in research. or Transport) in addition to those already marked. Crew Name. Thugs. Say why you have good or bad status with these factions. carriage drivers. This upgrade costs 2 advances to unlock. Vault: Your lair has a secure vault. Assign Faction Status Ticks Each player assigns a positive tick and a negative tick with any Tier 1 or Tier 2 faction (to represent past interactions). Shadows: Your crew has a gang of scouts. assign one positive and one negative tick at Tier 3. Your vault can also be used as a holding cell. and roustabouts. Mark the one who is a close friend. documents. & Cash You begin at Tier 0. It represents how much clout you have among the other crews and factions. infiltrators. If you choose one of the gangs (Adepts. long-time ally. Mastery: Your crew has access to master level training. tinkerers. Choose Reputation Your crew's reputation represents how you use your Renown effect rating to impress or frighten other crews. and sneak-thieves. In this quick start. you're Thieves. with 0 Hold. When you choose the corresponding action category for your personal training during PC advancement. occultists. Shadows. You may advance your PC action ratings to 4. 6. In the quick start. alarms. Thinking of a name for your crew can be very hard at first. & Patron or Boss Your crew has a patron or ward boss who has helped you get started. documents. Killers. . and how they advance. Expertise: Your crew has access to expert level training. Lair. Rooks: Your crew has a gang of con artists. Choose A Favorite Contact You begin with all of your contacts. Lair: How useful is your base of operations? (It's workshop. You can store up to 8 cash. library. as well as a library of books. Assign Effect Diamonds Assign 3 diamonds to crew effects (Gangs. spies. Blade. Quarters: Your lair includes living quarters for the crew. Secure Lair: Your lair has good locks. the new boss of Crow's Foot. Shadows. 5. Workshop: Your lair has a workshop appointed with tools for tinkering and alchemy. Rovers) also choose which NPC among their roster is the leader of that gang). instead of just 4. as a group. Cloak. Rooks. In the full game. etc. intelligence reports. Assign Crew Upgrades Mark 2 upgrade boxes. Book. 3. Library: Your lair has a collection of useful books. this person is Lyssa. Mask Training: Your crew has access to special training. Rovers: Your crew has a gang of sailors. Then. They may sometimes come to you with requests. Crew Upgrades Crew Effects Adepts: Your crew has a gang of scholars. given your available assets and debts? Transport: How quickly can you get your gangs in position? How advantageous is your maneuver? Elite Gangs: When you employ an Elite gang. or partner in crime. Gangs: How effective are your gangs (Adepts. its special abilities. you get +1d effect (like a fine item). You roll your Renown when you try to reduce Heat on your crew. you mark +1 segment. brawlers. 8. Thugs. 5. Killers. Choose a quality that best describes her. and socialites. 2. Morale. and traps to thwart intruders. Hold. Morale: How well can your crew and gangs hold together during adversity? Resources: How well can you develop. 7. Tier. Choose a Special Ability Choose 1 starting special ability for the crew.) How secure is it? Thugs: Your crew has a gang of toughs. and chemists. Hidden Lair: Your lair has a secret location and is disguised to hide it from view. Choose Crew Type Your crew type represents the nature of your crew. You may advance your PC action ratings to 3. No effect may start higher than 2. 4. You start with 2 cash. Resources. It's okay to start out without a name and later acquire one based on what the crew is like. there are several to choose from.

Slippery: When you roll entanglements during development.  Experienced: Choose an additional reputation with which  you may employ your Renown. when you reduce heat on the crew. you can share the stress cost between 2 PCs. crew effects morale         resources         transport         notes crew upgrades   Workshop contacts                     Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh      iii                     7 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 5 3 2 3 3 8 2 9 6 7 9 8 5 4 4 3 3 5 ii 4 i 3 .  roll two dice and keep the one you want. take +1d to the roll. When you  roll to acquire an asset.tier hold thieves factions gangs           Adepts   Hidden Lair   Blade Training Fine Building Plans   Dowler. Pack Rats: Your lair is a jumble of stolen items. a noble          Rovers   Mastery   Thief Rigging (-1 load)   Rigney. Grevor Adra Hester  Complete a profitable side job (of your own or for a client). or shakedown. Vetta Aslyn Grip Veteran: Choose a special ability from another crew.  Slip. others adepts killers thugs Vincen Crane Zana Kyra Dro Chalk Tor Tevis Whistler Alpha: When you lead a group action. a bluecoat     Thugs   Library   Cloak Training Elite Shadows   Amancio. Also. you do +1d effect. an explorer   lair           Killers   Secure Lair   Book Training Fine Rooftop Routes   Laroze.     rooks shadows rovers crew advancement Lyzelle Avery Kam  Execute a profitable heist. take +1 result level (as if you'd spent coin on the roll). or Finesse (choose one which is currently zero). Overwatch: When you're backup and you face an effect for the  character on point. a fence     Rooks   Quarters   Mask Training Prison Escape Methods   Fitz. Quinn Sloane Drake  Contend with challenges above your current station. Corlane Merrick Ruby  Gain access to a new avenue of thievery or type of victim. Secure. a collector   The Unseen           iii      The Silver Nails      iii Lord Scurlock           iii The Hive           iii      The Circle of Flame      ii The Crows           ii      The Lampblacks      ii The Red Sashes           ii      The Dimmer Sisters      ii      Ulf Ironborn      i      The Fog Hounds      i The Eels           i The Lost           i      Duskwall Council      iv      Skovlander Refugees      iv      Ironhook Prison      iii      Spirit Wardens      iii Bluecoats           iii Inspectors           i      Leviathan Hunters      iii Sailors           ii Dockers           ii Gondoliers           ii Cabbies           i Rail Jacks           i   Shadows   Vault   Expertise   Secondary Lair   Adelaide Phroaig. a tavern owner        The Weeping Lady      The Path of Echoes                The Forgotten Gods      ii 5 Deathlands Scavengers i 3 tier name lair absent—bold—driven—careless—fiendish— hold meticulous—patient—ruthless—savvy—weird ward boss coin        wanted heat |        renown ambitious—brutal—daring—professional—subtle—strange         roster special abilities Everyone Steals: Each PC chooses to take level 1 in Prowl. robbery.

TWIST OR COMPLICATION 1 An element is a cover for heretic spirit cult practices 2 A seer has foreseen this job and warned the parties involved 3 Rogue spirits possess some/most/all of the people involved 4 Rogue spirits haunt the location 5 The job furthers a demon’s secret agenda 6 The job furthers a vampire’s secret agenda 1 An element is a front for a criminal enterprise 2 3 The job is a trap laid by your enemies 4 The job is a test for another job 5 The job furthers a merchant lord’s secret agenda. Still a work in progress. WORK 4. roll or choose on the following tables.scores To generate a score. 6 The job furthers a city official’s secret agenda .) 2 Laborer or Tradesman 2 Sabotage or Arson 2 Abandoned or Decrepit 2 Masterwork security (locks. island) 4 Merchant or Shopkeeper 4 Poison or Arrange Accident 4 Lavish or Refined 4 Safe. LOCATION 5.) 3 Courier or Sailor 3 Lift or Plant 3 Busy or Crowded 3 Natural Feature (cliff. lock-box. 1. 6 The job furthers a crime boss’s secret agenda. 1 Job requires travel by electro-rail 2 Must visit the Deathlands to do the job 3 Job requires sea travel 4 5 The job furthers a revolutionary’s secret agenda. TARGET 2. TROUBLES civilian skullduggery mood barriers 1 Academic or Scholar 1 Stalking or Surveillance 1 Haunted or Cursed 1 Stronghold (high walls. vault 5 Artist or Writer 5 Burglary or Heist 5 Dank or Dismal 5 Runes / Wards 6 Doctor or Alchemist 6 6 Serene or Silent 6 Electroplasmic Security criminal violence type dangers 1 Drug Dealer or Supplier 1 Assassinate 1 Ship or Dockside 1 Traps (deadly or entangling) 2 Mercenary or Thug 2 Disappear or Ransom 2 Canals or Grotto 2 Toxic Substances 3 Fence or Gambler 3 Terrorize or Extort 3 Town House or Apartment 3 Clockworks / Automatons 4 Spy or Informant 4 Destroy or Deface 4 Tavern or Restaurant 4 Alarms 5 Smuggler or Thief 5 Raid or Defend 5 Shop or Marketplace 5 Rogue spirits 6 Crime Boss 6 6 Tower or Keep 6 Electroplasmic Devices political underworld type opposition 1 Noble or Official 1 Escort or Security 1 Manor or Villa 1 Guards / Scouts / Sentries 2 Banker or Captain 2 Smuggle or Courier 2 Sewer or Slaughterhouse 2 Bluecoats / Imperials 3 Revolutionary or Refugee 3 Blackmail or Discredit 3 Workshop or Factory 3 Guard Dogs / Lookouts 4 Clergy or Cultist 4 Con or Espionage 4 Barracks or Bunkhouse 4 Trained Killers / Thugs 5 Constable or Inspector 5 Locate or Hide 5 Rail Station 5 Whispers / Bound Spirits 6 Magistrate or Ward Boss 6 6 Library or School 6 Hollows strange unnatural ward 1 Ghost of (roll again) 1 Curse or Sanctify 1 Whitecrown or Brightstone 1 2 Occult Collector 2 Banish or Summon 2 Six Towers or Charterhall 2 3 Vampire or Other Undead 3 Extract Essence 3 Mightmarket or Silkshore 3 4 Demon (disguised) 4 Place or Remove Runes 4 Coalridge or The Docks 4 5 Possessed or Hollow 5 Perform / Stop Ritual 5 Crow’s Foot or Dunslough 5 6 Barrowcleft or Charhollow 6 6 6 6. CLIENT / 3. etc. etc.

Nightmarket. Helene. Crow's Foot.  Freyla. the Docks. Six Towers. Silkshore. Dunslough. Spiregarden theater. The Centuralia. Silkshore. Dunridge & Sons fine fabrics and tailoring. The Golden Plum.. Eldrin Prichard.] Nelisanne. bath house. 40 . the Docks. The Veil. Grist. Madame Tesslyn. Coalridge. The Hive. powder dealer. Coalridge. Brightstone canals. The Silver Swan pleasure barge. Silkshore. The Red Lamp. gambling Spogg’s dice game.  Lord Penderyn. Nightmarket. Nightmarket. The Silver Swan pleasure barge.  Maestro Helleren. Nightmarket. Jewel. luxuries Singer. Six Towers. hound racing. Traven’s smoke shop.  Harvale Brogan.  Helene.. The Leaky Bucket. Bird. drink Mardin Gull. and Shine. Whitecrown. drugs Chef Roselle. The Unseen. Master Vreen. Silkshore. Catcrawl alley. The Palace of Echoes. Rolan Volaris. MORE TO COME HERE . Avrick. a mercenary company. Strange passageways lead to stranger chambers beyond.. the Harping Monkey. Rolan Volaris. The Red Lamp. Brightstone canals. Silver Stag casino. Coalridge.purveyors of vice affiliation lovers The Silver Nails. Whitecrown. faith Sister Narya of the Weeping Lady. Brightstone. Whitecrown. [. Madame Tesslyn. Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh. Silver Stag casino. Silkshore.  Pux Bolin. The Veil. weird The hooded proprietor of a half-flooded grotto tavern near the docks. The ruins of the Temple to Forgotten Gods. Barrowcleft. Traven’s smoke shop.  Lady Devera.  Eldrin Prichard. The Dusk Manor Club. Nightmarket.. The Circle of Flame. boxing. Crow’s Foot. The Emperor’s Cask.

Ghosts are not the only undead. Whisper: A person sensitive to spirits. Spectrology It’s said that the cataclysm which shattered the earth. one thing is certain: once a body dies. Electroplasm: The energetic residue distilled from spirits and leviathan blood. a spawning ground for demons.the unquiet the unquiet dead dead “They say anything can be sold on the streets of Duskwall. A living body with its own spirit. A clockwork body animated by a bound spirit. too. But there are other ways for body and spirit to relate.. Undead. A living body containing two (or more) spirits. Craves life essence and vengeance on its earthly enemies. 41 . the spirit.. and turned the seas to black ink was caused by a sorcerer who dabbled in forbidden magic and tore down the Gates of Death. consumed by darker and darker urges until it goes entirely mad and monstrous. Usually dim-witted and easily controlled. its spirit does not disperse as they once did long ago.” —Flint details A spirit rises from its corpse three days after death. But have you ever tried to unload a cursed spirit bottle? Yeah. May be able to summon and communicate with ghosts. Can coalesce into semi-solid electroplasmic vapor or diffuse into a fine haze. If the corpse is dissolved in electroplasm before then. Spirit-Well: A rift in reality where ghosts and other supernatural beings congregate to draw energy. It takes roughly three days for a ghost to become free of the corpse. It becomes a ghost: a spectral entity composed of electroplasmic vapors. is destroyed. Ghost. It is then free to wander the world. But rogue spirits still haunt the city. Sometimes called a “vampire”—though only some crave hot blood. In ancient myth. The normal state of affairs. unless the body is dissolved in electroplasm before then. But who believes such ancient tales? Whatever the truth of it.  Hollow. A dead body animated and sustained by a spirit. A spirit without a body.  Soul. A living body without a spirit. Bellweather Crematorium (operated by the bronze-masked Spirit Wardens) handles most of the corpse disposal in Duskwall. banished the sun. all of sudden the market dries up. A variety of strange beings stalk the darkest shadows.  Hull. Possessed.

duskwall .

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Outside the Imperial cities.] The Dagger Isles wintercliff Akoros tyrmoor [Tropical. wild. The war of Skovlan Unity ended only a few years ago. disconnected from the Empire. scavenging the deathlands on their ghost-hunting horses. but it's possible to see constellations of shimmering stars far below the surface.] lockport Skovlan duskwall Severos [Windswept grass plains. jungle. The sun is a dim ember. some native Serverosi still live in tribes. rocky hills. imperial city sevrin Severos south point cullfield thorn irondale sunfall bright harbor (eldira) Don't expect realism here. People say that some positions of power are openly held by demons in Iruvia. People say the Tycherosi (rudely called "Strangers") have demon blood. leaving the world in darkness otherwise. People there live without lightning barriers. Rich coastal cities and some mining colonies deep inland. How do they manage that?] Skovlan ilysia [Cold.] Iruvia arvaedh whitehollow [Golden deserts. The last holdout from Imperial control. providing only purpleish twilight at dawn and dusk. If you play one. The "water" of the Never Sea seems to be composed of opaque black ink.] Tycheros [A far off land. The Dagger Isles Iruvia mistport kethrys u'duasha alduara . tell the group what your telltale demonic feature is.the wide world blackvale Tycheros Akoros [Dark forests.] a note about the world The islands have wildly different climates due to magical weirdness from the cataclysm. mountainous.