Divergence of Special Abilities from BitD

How unique should/must we make playbook special abilities in our hacks compared to those found in Blades in the Dark? I’m asking from both a legal standpoint and from a creative standpoint. If several abilities just fit too well to be altered, may we translate them into the setting? How many may we do?

You can use any special ability in the SRD.

I highly recommend that hackers write their own, even when they’re very similar to the Blades abilities. But sometimes, copying an ability just makes sense, so they’re available in the SRD for that reason.

The abilities left out of the SRD are those that very closely align to the Blades setting IP, which isn’t part of the CC-licensed content.


Got it. I have some similar abilities that fit some of the lore of the setting I’m designing, but I know of ways to differentiate them from the base game. I hope you like it when they’re done. I’m going to be done with a review copy soon. Just gotta finish the playbooks.

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Okay, so I have a Hound analogue called the Rigger. It’s a combination of riggers from shadowrun (drivers and drone operators) and John Wick (basically a hound that’s a kick ass wheelman). I’m also playing off the theme that Rigger sounds like Rigor, as in cold and unyielding, which is again evocative of Mr. Wick.

Now, Ghost Hunter is the pet ability that Hounds have, and it’s not in the srd, but would this special ability be divergent enough, or would it be once my person narrative has been woven into its fiction further:

Cryptic Familiar: from your mind you have created a lesser cryptos that may inhabit mechanical forms. Pick two abilities: mind-link, cryptos sprite, swarm gestalt, golem double, animistic form.

“Crypitc” or crypto is a key word I use to indicate an ability is usable with the ghost analogue of the setting, or someone who’s suffered the death of their body but their stack (to borrow Altered Carbon’s terminology) is still intact. In my setting, your cryptos is a digital backup of your mind on a stack like in Altered Carbon. There’re some additional bits of lore, like cryptos can possess sufficiently complicated devices or networks, but unless they’re piloting a drone they can’t manifest like a ghost can in BitD, and how knowing someone’s “true name” is the key to gaining power over their cryptos.

Would it need to be altered further, or is it too similar?

I’m wondering about how close or far away an ability can/should be from abilities that are left out of the SRD. I absolutely love the setting of Blades, and I don’t want to steal anything that’s ingrained in it. At the same time, there are some great mechanics that I can’t really think of doing any better way.

My specific example would be a copy of the Physicker ability. I’m working on a dungeon crawling hack, and the role that the physicker ability plays would match up perfectly with the cleric playbook I’m working on. The ability I’m working on currently is this:

Cure Light Wounds: You can cast healing spells to heal wounds, save someone on the brink of death, or alleviate maladies. Your guild (including yourself) gets +1d to their healing rolls.

I guess my specific question is, even though physicker isn’t on the SRD, can I use the mechanics of physicker in my own hack? Or more generally, can we pull mechanical elements from things not on the SRD, assuming we’re fully fitting it into our own setting?

Yep, that’s fine!

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