Into the Dark

Hey folks!

Last year I had a friend who was making some art while stuck in doctor’s waiting rooms. It was cool in that old school RPG way, two color (because he could only bring 2 brush pens) and more than a little spooky (which I love). I suggested that he needed a game to go with it. He asked me if I wanted to try writing one.

I put this together in 2 weeks for Big Bad Con. Some really cool peeps helped me playtest it :slight_smile: It went shockingly well. It was tiny, it was old-school, it was spooky. We had a great time. I asked a few friends to read it, and I kept adding bits until people other than me could run it. I’ve really enjoyed reading a couple of the AP reports.

I wanted to talk about the system briefly. I wanted to make something that’s familiar (and what’s more familiar than small dungeon crawling games ^_^) but also fairly minimalist. I wanted to make a tiny blades system that is so bare bones it would help people leap into designing their own hack in short order. I wanted to see how far I could push some of the design and still have it feel like Blades to me.

I really like it, but of course you’ll have to judge it for yourself. :slight_smile:
It’s got some old school sensibilities, creepy gear, scary monsters.

The game has:

  • A lightweight system core that fits on 2 pages.
  • 4 Unique delver types (the Murkhunter, Explorer, Shadowbinder and Lightbearer)
  • Load and loot system
  • Murk adventure generations tables, and 5 pregen adventures with monsters, loot suggestions etc. So you can jump right into playing.

The system has:

  • HP! Woo!
  • Stress and resists
  • Partial successes
  • XP with variable cost advancement (no levels)

Should be releasing it Monday. Hope folks check it out :slight_smile: I’m planning to run it for Halloween!

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Ah! This looks gorgeous!

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It’s a real thing now! In case you’re interested:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/293145/Into-the-Dark

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I just picked it up :smiley:

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Read through the rules, really loving everything that I’ve read.

Removing position and effect is interesting. Do you find as a GM that you are aware of it anyways?

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Hi Stras,
As always it’s great to see another game from you. Will be playing this as soon as I can track my scattered crew down!

Will there will be a print version of this in the future or is it intended to stay as a small lightweight pdf only release?

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You have to be, because one of the core mechanics is getting (or losing) extra dice from position. So you talk through the factors before making the roll anyway.

For example:
“Hey I’m going to yell and charge the Night Render” is probably a straight up roll.

“Hey, it hasn’t noticed me, so I’m going to stab it from behind” might net you +1 to +2 dice.

Similarly: “Hey I’m risking my arm by activating this Shadow Band, can I get some extra damage?”
GM: “Sounds like a +1d situation for me, but on a 4/5 I’ll fill up this 4-clock and when it’s full you lose the limb. Sound fair?”

It’s not as robust in some ways I find, but in actual practice it acts very similar. It’s kind of a lightweight implementation that helps speed up the process.

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It’s a super lightweight game (so a print version would be more of a booklet than a full book). That said I did lay it out in 5.5x8.5 format intentionally (that’s Monsterhearts book size in case you need something for reference) and I’ll definitely at least take a look at print-on-demand if not actual print options. No promises about when though.

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That makes a lot of sense, equating position and effect to dice feels like an evolution to an extent. Blades portrays criminals at the height of their game, but for most people difficult situations usually means success is less likely, not just disastrous.

Thanks you for the feedback. I really love the game. Just need to find a group for it.

Hi Stras I have a question regarding the War Machine ability from the Murkhunter playbook. It states that,

"Heavy armor you wear counts for 2 armor, and does not have a limitation on your speed."

Heavy armour already gives 2 armor, should this read as 3 armor or that regular Armor is upgraded from 1 to 2 points of armor?

Oh good catch! That’s left over from a previous version. It should read: “Any armor you wear does not limit your speed. Heavy armor you wear takes only 1 load.” I’ll see about fixing the book and sheets.

Thanks for the keen eyes @Mremann and glad to hear people are actually playing this!

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Hi Stras, I’m reading through it at the moment and it’s full of awesome ideas!
One thing escapes me so far : what was the thinking behind Renting vs. Acquiring equipment?

It has to do with character goals and long term play. I’m a big fan of old-school games where getting coin is a big part of your objective, but getting coin for coin’s sake is pointless. I didn’t want to do “coins equal xp” (partially because of xp-math staying simple) so I gave it a motivation: get yourself some gear. Remember that in FitD that grind and the desire for coin is a big part of crews (though there it’s to buy more downtimes… which here you don’t have) … so it’s one of the ways I left it in. Plus having gear lists and people thinking about gear is very old school. Much of this game is about a feeling, and remembering what it’s like being a kid pouring over lists … … … without including actually 30 pages of gear and such. A lot of it is simplification :slight_smile:

Also I love hearing folks post-game talk about their goals, and how many trips it would take to get a thing permanently … it’s really cool to see the game itself sort of incentivise them to think about “next time”.

There’s some other minor reasons. I like that the shadowbinder is super expensive to run on gear so it raises the question of ‘who gets how much money’ and the like. I like that you can’t just go in, and if things get hard bail … because you may not be able to pay to return. So on.

Hope that answers the Q :slight_smile:

Absolutely does, thanks! I’ll re-read it with that in mind.
It’s fascinating to see how your approach changed between S&V, BoB and this!

One of the things I’ve seen with a lot of FitD hacks is folks adhering very closely to the intial format. I wanted to put something out there that I’ve playtested a fair bit, that’s pared down, and shows some more traditional mechanics fitting in the Forged framework. I had this dream of folks using it to build out more on the platform, but it hasn’t really caught much attention ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So it goes sometimes!