Blades Against Darkness

No questions, just enthusiasm. I love the cut down action dice, and I love what you’ve done with resistance. I’m looking forward to trying out the quickstart as soon as I can put a group together.


Okey, I had a short one-shot session with my group because one of my regular players couldn’t make it for tonights game.
Short introduction: I started this group with BitD but we went on to other gaming systems because it didn’t click. Huge part of that was me struggling to GM BitD with no real prior GMing experience and no real feeling for how the game should work either. We tested some other things and settled on Into the Odd and stuch with that the last couple of months.

Nevertheless I was eager to see if out experience with a FitD game would be different now.
My players were up for it and I tried my best to create a scenario on short notice. I used some dungeon creation tables from the Freebooters on the Frontier playtest coupled with the guidlines on scenario creation in Blades against Darkness and sent my players to explore the Floating Archives.

Character creation was fast, they loved the flavor of the playbooks, the Chimera especially.
I had brewed up a little conflict inspired by quickstart. The Silver Flame needed some notes on divination from a secret library in the Archive. The Strychnine Syndicate was trying to get as much loot out of the newly discovered site as possible and was ready to defend their right to plunder. Finally some plants in the Archive’s herbatorium had mutated and had turned the whole Archive into a semi-organic structure with some non-euclidean spaces for good measure. The plants had also developed the ability to see into the future (because of strange divination experiments) and were trying to avert an apocalypse they had seen in their vision.

As we started playing I noticed that I had some real difficulties switching from my more prep focused playstayle to the more collaborative nature of FitD. I tried my best to adapt and in the end it worked out okey. We had some good fun, but I handwaved much of the mechanics so sadly I can’t comment much on them. They had to deal with a sniper from the Syndicate and an labyrinthine wood as well as an half lion half plant monster which the chimera swiftly consumed. They got their notes and hurried out of there, happy to tell the tale.

I liked the different format of the action roll, which catered to the playstyle I was familiar with from the OSR inspired game I’ve been running. And I really appreaciate the concrete advise for prepping a game in the GM section. There was one minor confusion about how the inventory for armor works for the chimera with the skin as armor variant of the Twisted special ability.

I’m excited to see how Dylan will go forward with BAD and the players voiced support for hacking some of the more abstract Downtime mechanics into our maingame so I’m grateful that I got some new ideas I can think about.

Hope this helps a little :sweat_smile:


There’ve been some minor changes to both the GM packet and the Quick Start Kit including the addition of the art!

A couple of questions for you:

How low did people’s resistance values go? In my tests people rarely get below 3d, and I’m considering shortening the ladder by one unit.

How did declaring gear and the slots work for you? Was there any confusion about what the time requirements for the different slots were? Did people feel that they had tactical choices about where to store stuff and leaving some slots unfilled? If you had confusion where was it?

How did Action Rolls work for you guys? Were the positions clear? Did people do much trading position for effect and if so was it clear how to do so?

Did you feel comfortable developing a job? Was there any advice for how to set up that you wish you had?

Hey I played this a couple of weeks ago in two one-shot sessions with two separate groups. We had a lot of fun playing in the setting and both the squads had more trouble dealing with the stress and trauma than actually getting hurt by any demons.

The action rolls, declaring gear and armor worked great and caused tension with having enough space to escape with the treasure.

My players had trouble remembering what their special armor protected them from and when to declare it.

Resistance values never got below 3d and one session I had a player burn all their Stress and go out from Trauma. Is it your intention to have the resistance rolls approach 0 near the same rate as stress? In our experience the stress racked up far quicker from resisting, assisting and harm.

We had a lot of fun. Playbooks are great. I would love more direction on how to make jobs. It’s been a while since I read the GM packet, but I remember it almost clicking but I just couldn’t get there.


@C_Santee Hey thanks for the feedback and welcome to the forums.

The whole resistance/stress thing is something I’m working with right now and that’s why I’m looking for some feedback. My experience is similar to yours. Resistance values never get very low, but Stress is still topping out. Personally, this isn’t a problem flavor wise. Getting out by the skin of your teeth is the goal. But it doesn’t seem that Resistance is driving that.

Regarding GM advice, what specifically did you struggle with?

The never went further than 3d. But I wasn’t perticulary harsh with consequences (most of them were combat related and they all had heavy armor)

Declaring gear worked great. The players were familiar with the procedure from BitD and took to the time requirements easily. The only question that came up was how declaring armor works for a chimera with the Twisted special ability and the power stored in her skin. The text says that her hide now counts as armor. I ruled that she could additionally declare heavy armor on a Slung slot without normal armor in Packed.

After talking things through with you on Discord it was intuitive and fluid. I think it caters nicely to my more OSR shaped sensibilites.

I tried combining the procedures for job development with some random tables from other products to give myself some interesting creative input to play with. Which led to interesting developments. One thing I struggled with was travel between the nodes. i’m normally running a dungeon crawl focused game with my group and wasn’t comfortable with switching from an explicit representation of space to a more abstract one.



I’m going to test a change to resistance on my end. I’m going to experiment with just giving a pool of dice and just letting people roll however many they want. Probably something like 8-10 dice. That should be enough to do a couple resistance rolls, but still have resources run out OR do more rolls at fewer dice and lean on stress.

I’m considering changing Resistance a little:

6 you avoid the concequence entirely
4/5 you reduce the concequence
1-3 you take the full concequence.

With this you could actually get rid of Stress and just have resistance dice. Things that cost stress now would either cost resistance dice or have a concequence. This streamlines the mechanics further, but it also means the game is no longer really compatible with the core game. So I have mixed thoughts…

Twisted and Armor:

Based on your feedback I added an armor symbol to the playbook near Twisted. It was intended as armor that didn’t require a slot.

Navigation Rolls:

Yeah, I might need to explain that more. It’s not intended that every movement through the dungeon should require a roll. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine to explore part of the dungeon in old school room by room style. You can use it when the players want to get somewhere specific and but the path there isn’t perfectly understood.

We know we need to get to the old library in the East wing of the manor to get the book. We are here in the East wing, but we don’t know exactly where the library is…

Rather than going brute Force room by room until you find the library, you can roll to find the thing you want. On a 6 you get there and probably get know what’s in store before it knows you’re there. On a 4/5 you get there, but you’re in the thick of it. On a 1-3 you end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is to avoid a lot of fumbling around through corridors and rooms until you find the thing you want. It saves the GM from having to build dozens of rooms or figuring out when is the right time to have them get where they should.

Once your in the library, you can zoom in and do more detailed exploration. Here things get more old-school. You can have hidden doors and multiple rooms. Like a small dungeon of 3-5 rooms. Then when you want to go to the clock tower or whatever it’s another navigation roll to another micro- dungeon.

Does that make sense?

That being said, if you’re comfortable with a more old school approach and enjoy it, use that! This was a tool I developed because I find the prep required for that daunting and sometimes I find the moment to moment play exhausting.

Also! I have set up a Discord for the game:

Not a lot of action there yet, but since I’ve had a couple of people contact me there I figured I’d make it public.

PS: also probably going to get rid of Thews, Wits, and Charm and return to dots or points. Figuring out how many dice to roll is cumbersome.

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Okay this is kinda rough and untested, but I think there might be something worth exploring here!

Here is a super minimal version of BAD. Let’s call it Blades Against Darkness: Super Turbo!

This is just a Character Sheet and Player Aid, right now, but I’ll keep adding to it. As I get to test this idea a little more, I may fold these changes into the main game (similar to what happened with Turbo before).

This assumes a generic fantasy setting, but you’ll probably need things like factions and a job if you plan on actually trying this. If anyone out there gets a chance to give this a go, let me know! I’d love to hear how it went.


This looks awesome…and puts a kink in my plans I have for high fantasy hack


Hello there Mr. Green! I’m making my own hack of Blades and I’d like to know if it would be okay with you if I used some of your material in Blades Against Darkness (crediting you, of course). I’d mainly like to use some of the special abilities from the Chosen playbook. Is that okay with you? Is there anything you want me to avoid using at all?


Aaaaah, I was just tooling around with some ideas and I came up with ditching stress and using resistance dice, then went looking for your game and what do I find in the comments…

In the hack I’m sort of writing, you spend resistance for pushes, but there is a kind of stress you only get after you’re wounded, so the more injured you are, the more effective you become (until you die), in a reverse death spiral.

Of course, then there are death moves, and you’re a ghost until you eat enough ghosts to revive yourself and then and then and then.


@NightDesigner yes, feel free. Please just credit me.

@kris yeah I think Resistance dice are promising. I might change the name to “Grit” and it needs more testing, but I think I’m onto something.

I used you descending dice pool for resistance tonight in a “no stats” prelude to session zero - involving a car chase in my near future game. Over the top action, but it stayed tense because of the stress economy.

2 of 4 players were BitD veterans and LOVED the resistance change. The other 2 had no problems picking up the action roll and resistance rules. We went 3d, 2d, 1d, 0d since it was only an extended scene. 3 characters were down to 0d since I pulled no punches.

There was a good balance between resistance and just taking the consequence due stress spending.

I really like the idea of a combined pool. Are you ok with it being in other published hacks if I playtest it with my soon to publish hack (Adrenaline)? I’m fine staying away from it if you prefer. Im hesitant to make a big change when I have already done a bunch of playtesting, but this approach is so elegant and streamlines the rules.


First up, you’re welcome to use the mechanic to your heart’s content. Just credit me if you do.

Secondly, my current experiment is just a pool of 10 resistance dice, and a player can roll as many as they want for resistance rolls.

Crit: Resist all the concequences and regain a resistance dice.
6: Resist all the concequences
4/5: take a lesser version of the concequences.
1-3: take the full concequences.

It sounds like you used a “ladder” like in the current BAD game? Where the players had a set number of dice on each “rung” of the ladder and each time you used one stepped down a “rung”?


Did you still use stress, or did you “step down” to push yourself and assist too?

Tell me more about your experiment?

I used the “ladder” approach with Adrenaline (the inverse of stress - spent instead of gained). It worked really well using 2>1>0. half the group was rolling 0D for resistance at the end. I let them continue to roll 0D - only 1 player needed it). No traumas, but close. I am going to either try the pool approach or 3>2>2>1>0 for our next session.

I do like the idea of just having the one pool to allocate dice for different reasons. However, this might burn stress faster than other options since you will really want to throw 3 dice each time to maximize your chance of getting a 6. But, I really like using the core roll results instead of having the additional 6-roll rule (it is easy, but still is an extra rule). Perhaps I could go with a roll of “1D” as the default for resistance, but you can push yourself to get an extra 1 or 2D. Ahh…tradeoffs!

I am going to post a better recap of how I ran my “session zero” last night in a different thread. It worked really well.

Yeah man, I’m moving away from the ladder currently but you’re welcome to it. It sounds like your moving on to your own thing anyway!

Keep me posted on how it works for you!

@ebrunsell I think there is some confusion about how I’m handling resistance rolls in Super Turbo. There is no Stress. You just have resistance dice. When you want to resist a consequence, roll X number of Resistance Dice (these could be a ladder or a pool).

Crit: Avoid the consequence and regain a resistance dice.
6: Avoid the consequence.
4/5: Suffer a lesser version of the consequence.
1-3: Suffer the full consequence

Pushing yourself costs a Resistance Dice. Same with Assisting. There is no Stress. When you have 0 Resistance dice you can risk Trauma to make a 2d Resistance roll.

Crit: Avoid the consequence and regain a resistance dice.
6: Avoid the consequence (but remain at 0 Resistance dice)
4/5: Avoid the consequence and take trauma.
1-3: Suffer the consequence and take trauma.

NOTE: I’ve shifted this to SINGLE concequences so you have to roll for each concequence. I may ultimately change 1-3 on a Trauma roll to:

1-3: Suffer the consequence OR take trauma.

Actually, I’d be genuinly interested in you explaining to me what you thought I said. You might be onto something useful and interesting.

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I think we are on the same page, I just referred to it as stress instead of a resistance pool. So, if you want to resist, you roll a number of dice based on how much stress you choose to gain. When you want to do something that requires stress, it also adds stress. So, when you get to 10 stress you are in danger of trauma. Same thing, different vocabulary!

In my hack, Adrenaline, I renamed Stress to Adrenaline… you start with 10 and count down. If I tried this in my hack instead of the resistance ladder, I’d do the following.

  1. To resist a consequence, roll 1-4D at a cost of 1 Adrenaline per die. (and use your action roll results)
  2. Spend 1 Adrenaline to either add 1D to an action roll, increase the effect by one level, or take an action while incapacitated. (Yes, this is a cheaper “Push Yourself.” It keeps everything at a 1-1 relationship, and the cheaper cost fits with my over-the-top action.
  3. Spend Adrenaline as required for using special abilities.

I’m not sure if I want to try this. I am probably going to test the “resistance ladder” at our next session, using 4>3>2>1>0 and keeping Stress / Adrenaline the same.

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Okay cool. I get how you’re seeing it now. I thought you were still making resistance rolls where you took 6 - highest dice in “Stress” (or equivalent).

I can tell you that my experience with the ladder is, historically, people rarely get more than two steps down the ladder, so a shorter ladder makes sense. But if you make it so that pushing yourself and assists both takes steps from the ladder than maybe even a longer ladder is order? It’s hard to tell…

Try it and let me know how it goes!

Alright. I think I’m onto something here.

Cleaner language and better layout. But it’s missing something… Right?

Something like this maybe?

The idea is that you would just draw a herritage/class from the deck and have a character. All your starting moves and advanced moves would be on the cards. It’s infinitely expandable, easily randomized, and keeps things tidy.

Trauma would also be cards drawn from a deck and there could even be one similar to Darkest Dungeon’s beneficial “afflictions” perhaps…

If anyone has ideas for more/better heritage moves I’d love to hear them.

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Wow – This is pretty close to what I am doing for “transhumans” in Adrenaline. I’ll be using this same approach for an heroic fantasy hack that I have on the back burner. The card is sized to fit on the character sheet. I’ll be adding more (Fae, shapechangers, undead, etc) for the Glitch supplement of Adrenaline.

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