Playing Blades in the Darks Without Ghosts

Hello, I’ve been reading up on BitD and have been getting really excited to run a campaign of it with a few of my friends, but several of them have expressed concerns about the haunted/ghost aspect of the setting. They really want to roleplay the whole building a crew and being criminals aspect, but would prefer if there were fewer ghosts or none at all.

I would like to know if any of you have any tips on running BitD with fewer/no ghosts or suggestions for similar criminal rpgs.

Thanks in advance for your help.

You can just have the ghost stuff in the background. Unless you have players specifically looking to get into magic stuff it should be fairly easy to say, “Ghosts are real, they’re a problem outside the city, some exist within the city, but they’re going to be irrelevant to your proceedings.”

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I’ve now run 4 sessions of BitD (and they featured some ghostly activity) but I really don’t see a reason why a ghost-free BitD campaign should not work. Going on missions in Doskvol and fighting other crews does not require the supernatural at all. What you should decide is to which degree ghosts matter for Doskvol’s backstory. Do ghosts exist at all or is it just demons that haunt the world outside the barriers? Are the barriers much more effective and keep all the supernatural out?
Ban the Whisper as a character option as it wouldn’t make sense, and also consider dropping Attune as a skill. You could replace Attune with another skill, simply ignore it, or decide that PCs can use Attune to have some sixth sense insight with no ghostly connections. Some crews might need details changed. The Spirit Wardens might have to be dropped as well; or decide that they are a crazy band of ghost hunters who venture beyond the barriers into the deathlands to hunt ghosts.

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Thanks for the replies. Once I get it I’ll spend some time figuring out what needs tweaking. I think I want there to be some ghosts, but not nearly as much as the default setting seems to have.

Maybe the Lines & Veils technique is helpful. Ghosts may be a part of the game but not necessarily shown on screen.

If you’re feeling adventurous you could try one of the myriad other hacks of Blades:

Some more developed than others ofc.

Mostly the same gameplay loop, to use computer game terms, but different settings.

Suggestion from my GM: they could start a long-term project to eradicate the ghosts.
p.s: My Whisper disapproves of this plan xD

Other suggestion from my community: just drop Blades and go play another Forged in the Dark instead.
Maybe one of them is more fitting to what your group is looking for.

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