Simplest Blades in the Dark variant

What is the simplest most rules lite BitD variant?

As I get older I have a hard time devouring RPG texts like I used to. I kickstarted BiTD and got the core book, but it has mostly gone unread. At 328 pages its a chunky thing to make sense of. I also bought S&V after playing in one session of it, but again thats 370 pages. And now I have Band of Blades which looks incredible, but its 460+ pages.

Initially I thought it was just me. But I’ve recently met several other folks on line with similar experiences. They each have the book, and were initially excited, but haven’t been able to find a lower effort entry into the game.

Has anyone made a FitD game thats slimmer and more straightforward to get the basics out of.

Or is there a summary doc or something similar to the Dungeon World Beginners guide that I should know about?



It’s a dense game!

I’ll say this, which might help even though it doesn’t answer your question: you really don’t need to use the full game. I’ve run a really great game for a year now, and we’ve mostly skipped over the faction game – the Hexhounds were at war for the first time ever last session, for example, and they’ve only ever taken two chunks of turf. The players don’t tend to flash back all that often because the characters aren’t great planners anyhow. It works absolutely fine.

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One of my goals with Blades Against Darkness was to try and strip the system down to fewer moving parts. I managed to get most of the resolution system down to 1ish page.

See the player aid, page 3:

I provide some comentary about how to make these rules work in the supporting material, pages 5-6

You could strip that system out and play core Blades and it would be a good starting point. You could then build in more of the core game as you got more comfortable with it.

This won’t address the faction stuff, entanglements, etc. But it will make onboarding and moment to moment play smoother. You can introduce that other stuff, a little at a time, as you need it.


World of Blades has many similar systems to Blades but it’s all of on 3 pages.

It lacks crews, cohorts, or guidance for GMs or players on how to make the game work well. But you could use it as a place to start playing quickly, then dive into the core book for help on crafting rules, NPC threat levels and GM best practice or to upgrade to the full game with crews sheets and more moves.


Thanks. Sounds like a good start. Really like the are I’m seeing.

I currently have a google doc open of the hack I’ve been sort of working on and off with since I started playing this game. It’s just titled Blades Simple and it’s the game I hope to play with my son and daughter when they’re a little bit older. It also has a setting attached, the city of Moonrest, where the moon goes when it’s not in the night sky. It’s a city populated by fey creatures that only children can visit. It is light and fun as long as the moon is resting there, but the city becomes foreboding and the inhabitants capricious when the moon heads back to earth.

But I also haven’t done anything with it in months and it’s not finished. Mostly because my children are 4 and 2 and even simplified blades is a few years off.