A downloadable book

Download NowName your own price

Blades in the Dark is a terrific and collaborative role-playing game. It features a haunted industrialized city, dozens of factions, hundreds of NPCs, and a unique  system of rules that puts the fiction first. It can be very difficult for a game master to run Blades in the Dark, especially with the baggage of playing so many other systems that make very different assumptions about RPGs and storytelling. 

To help new and old game masters alike, I have compiled 9 tips I've learned from running Blades in the Dark, as well as other Forged in the Dark games like Scum & Villainy, and Band of Blades. These tips should help you focus the game on what you and the players are interested in, and highlight different rules and parts of the game that I think make it special. Topics include:

  • How to make sure everyone is telling the same story together
  • What you can and cannot do as a GM in Blades in the Dark
  • How to set up your game
  • Is harm good? 
  • And more!


Written by Michael Elliott

Cover Photo by Joyce McCown

This work is based on Blades in the Dark, product of One Seven Design, developed and authored by John Harper, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(13 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
Tagsadvice, bitd, blades-in-the-dark, Forged in the Dark, gm-tips, gm-tools, Tabletop role-playing game
Average sessionA few minutes


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Fine Blueprints.pdf 1 MB

Development log


Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.


Michael contributes a wealth of tips here that reinforce and augment how a good Blades game often works.

In particular, the sections on introducing contacts early, and harm promoting alternate approaches are ones I hadn’t seen explicitly brought up before. I’ll definitely incorporate them into my own sessions.

Others that I also wholeheartedly agree with are:

  • Don’t keep secrets.
  • State your intentions.
  • Letting the players narrate their success.
  • Picking the crew first AND allowing characters to play as narrative foils to each other.