Solo Adventure--1 player, 1 gm

I’ve played Blades with a large group before but now I have a single player and myself who are interested in a new campaign. I’m sure we could find another player online but we’ve been building this story between us for a while and want to keep it that way if possible.

Anyone have advice on hacks that would make Blades playable with only two people?


I never ran a 1-one-1 series (the term I use for BitD campaign), but I have some thoughts from one-shots.

  1. The system works well with 1 player, especially in the Score phase.
  2. The more players on the table, the less burden one scoundrel has to carry. In 1-on-1 the scoundrel has only their stress to use, meaning that they need to use it very wisely. Additionally, since Assist, Protect and Group Action (unless you do it with Cohorts) can’t be used, the scoundrel success rate is lower unless they take more stress.
  3. You have to put more attention in creating robust and interesting cast. The game will be quite dull without those.

You may look at deepening the Cohort rules, so you could use maneuvers like Assist. You may allow a cohort use Protect for harm.

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Blades can most certainly be done with 1 on 1 play. Personally, I think you’re better off playing 2 person GMless Co-Op. Blades is already a game that runs itself quite well after a but, welcomes player input, and a 2 person Crew is more than sufficient to play Blades “as is.”

However, if you want to Duet the game (1 on 1), then taking some pages out of Alone in the Dark may be of service. The tl;dr is that AitD is a really simple and small “Solo Guide” for playing Blades all by yourself. Personally when I solo Blades (or S&V and even Band of Blades!), I instead control multiple “PCs” at once. It means I can still play a more “rags to riches” style game instead of having to start off with beefed up characters. AitD recommends that latter method for “pure” Solo play: beefed up characters.

While I prefer my method (1 person that acts like a Crew of 3-4 people), I’ve tinkered around with the “Beefed Up Character” routine. Here are some of my observations:

For the Character

  • Start with 10-12 Action Dots instead of 7
  • Start with 2-3 Special Abilities instead of 1
  • While you most certainly know (and can use for the sake of +1d in Downtime) all the NPC Friends on your sheet, just for the sake of narrative simplicity to not have to “owe” them too much all the time, start with 2-3 Close Friends and 2-3 significant rivals (rather than 1 and 1)
  • Start with bonus Stress Box and Bonus Trauma Box

For the Crew

  • Start at Tier I or II (preferably 2, tbh- I’ve been tinkering with even regular games of Blades and just starting Crews at Tier I anyway to make Acquire Asset and Crafting more feasible)
  • Start with 2-3 Special Abilities instead of 1
  • 4-6 extra upgrades (for a total of 6 to 8 starting upgrades) instead of just 2 extra (for the original total of 4)
  • Start with 2-3 Cohorts (Gangs or Experts, doesn’t matter) that do not count against the starting Upgrades
  • Start with Special Abilities that allow Cohorts to do Downtime Actions for you (doesn’t count against the 2-3 Starting Abilities)
  • Start with 2-3 Close Contacts instead of 1 (again, this is for narrative freedom for not having to owe non-close friends and contacts as often when they help you)
  • Start with 2-3 Claims (instead of none). Ideally ones for Coin generation (to further supplement any and all Downtime Actions)

General Changes

  • Push and Devil’s Bargain can be taken at the same time and the Gambit Optional Rule. Both of these supplement the loss of an Assist Dice
  • Indulge Vice clears Stress for certain. 3 upon taking the DTA and 6 if you boost with Coin. Saves you more DTAs. Up to the Character if they want to Overindulge.
  • Taking a Healing DTA automatically clears Level 1 Harm. That same DTA also puts 2 Ticks in the Clock, guaranteed. No rolls. When the Clock is full, Level 2 and Level 3 Harm just goes away, no moving down a level. Again, this all serves to allow you to get through the boring DTAs and worry about the exciting ones (LTPs, Acquire Asset, Crafting) and keeps Vice Indulgence quick and interesting each time
  • Steady Resistance (Crit: 0 Stress, 6: 1 Stress, 4/5: 2 Stress, 1-3: 3 Stress). This helps to avoid those poorly timed “you take 4-5 Stress” Resists while also helping to put a slight balance towards the guaranteed stress relief.
  • Ideally, with all the above, you shouldn’t be too strapped for Coin. If you are, pull the Debt mechanic from Scum and Villainy

I’ve found that whenever I played “pure solo,” the above adjustments made the game run a lot smoother.

Hope the makes sense and hopefully that helps