A downloadable game

Buy Now$20.00 USD or more

Also available in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Evil Hat Productions. 

Winner: 2015 Golden Geek, RPG of the Year

Winner: 2016 Indie RPG Award, Game of the Year (also Best Production and Best Support)

Blades in the Dark is a tabletop role-playing game about a crew of daring scoundrels seeking their fortunes on the haunted streets of an industrial-fantasy city. There are heists, chases, occult mysteries, dangerous bargains, bloody skirmishes, and, above all, riches to be had — if you’re bold enough to seize them.

You and your fledgling crew must thrive amidst the threats of rival gangs, powerful noble families, vengeful ghosts, the Bluecoats of the city watch, and the siren song of your scoundrel’s own vices. Will you rise to power in the criminal underworld? What are you willing to do to get to the top?

In this game, you’ll find:

  • Rules to create your scoundrel using the following character archetypes: the Cutter, the Hound, the Leech, the Lurk, the Slide, the Spider, or the Whisper.
  • Rules to create your crew, built from types like AssassinsBravos, a CultHawkersShadows, or Smugglers.
  • A robust core mechanic which puts the fiction first—the strength of a character’s position (desperate, risky, or controlled) matters just as much as the character’s ability scores.
  • A lightning-fast mechanic for planning criminal operations to cut through the usual slog of planning at the game table.
  • Rules for alchemical experiments, gadget tinkering, and weird occult powers—including rules for playing Ghosts and other strange beings.
  • A setting guide to the haunted city of Doskvol, with all the maps, factions, NPCs, schemes, and opportunities you need to run an exciting sandbox game.


Number of players: 3-6
Age of players: 13+
Length: 2-6 hours per session
Page Count: 336



OFFICIAL WEBSITE (includes free supplements for the game):



Buy Now$20.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $20 USD. You will get access to the following files:

bladesinthedark_v8_2.pdf 47 MB
blades_sheets_v8_2.pdf 23 MB

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Free PDFs for those in need

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Development log


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I don't think this is the right place to contact you, but I don't have twitter so oh well!

I did a mash up of Blades in the Dark and Roll for Shoes!


Hey John, your work is amazing.


Thank you!

Hi John, I got the Bundle for Racial Equality and downloaded the player manual but when I tried to download the character sheets it came up with an error message saying the key for this product is owned. I now get that message if I click download for either file. Any suggestions? Thanks!

I don't know why that would happen. Sounds like something itch would have to fix (I can't control access through the bundle).

You can get the character sheets at bladesinthedark.com, though.

Hi John, I got the Bundle for Racial Equality, and I found this title in the list of products. How do I claim this? Thanks!


Go to the bundle page: https://itch.io/b/520/bundle-for-racial-justice-and-equality then click the "Download" button, then on the next screen, "Search  by title" to get to Blades in the Dark.


Wow I feel silly. Thanks so much! Really cool of you to go out of your way to help my dumb butt. This looks like an incredible game! Thanks for all your hard work to give us a great experience!

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I know it's a long shot, but are there versions of the PDFs that are editable in Illustrator? I would love to modify the maps of Duskwall to fit my own fantasy city, but importing the documents to Illustrator totally breaks the formatting.

This is genuinely one of the best TTRPGs ever made, and it speaks to me on so many levels. Big fan, bought the book, money well spent.


No, there aren't any directly editable versions of the maps. The full-page maps in the Player's Kit (https://bladesinthedark.com/downloads) are vector-based, and you can get to the "parts" in AI, but yeah, the formatting of text gets turned to outlines.


All good. Thank you so much for the personal reply! Again, this is a really wonderful collection of rules. Absolutely love it.

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An imagintive world in a dark, foreboding style rarely seen.  (The game does cite the Dishonoured video games as an influence.)  The mechanics are simple, so if you have imaginative group  of new to TTRPG players this could be the ideal game.  You do not need to go in with detailed plans, you need to be prepared to take a lot of notes as both the GM and players .  

Also check out its space opera sibling, Scum and Villany.  


I figured that I'd throw up a comment and say that this probably my favorite game to GM of all time. The book is written expertly, and gives the GM tons of mechanics to sink into that make GMing super easy and low prep compared to a lot of games (Looking at you, DnD). It's powered by the apocalypse, and as such, it runs well via online play.

Even if you don't think you can sell your players on the theme, check the game out anyway, there's tons of awesome stuff to crib for your other games (the concept of clocks, downtime action suggestions, steal a whole faction if you wanna)


I just wanted to say thank you for contributing to the bundle, John! I've wanted to check out Blades for a long time, and this gave me the perfect excuse to dive in. All the best!

Hi! Just picked this up in the bundle, and I'm excited to check it out. Would you say it works with online play? And if so do you think it would require roll20/FG or just work over discord?


I've run it over Zoom and I think it generally works well.  It's not reliant on specific positioning or maps as some other games, so it works well online with minimal tooling.


Yep! It works well online, and the Roll20 character sheets are very good.


Thanks, John.  For this awesome game, and for contributing to the bundle. My friends and I just started playing a crew last weekend.  There's no doubt we'll all donate to this great cause.