Blades in the dark finally finds, I dare say, its location in Italy (you can peek here the place), and it does so thanks to the newborn girl Grumpy Bear. Are you excited? Before going to disturb the minds that are behind the Italian broadcast of Blades in the Dark, let's spend a few words on the game.

Two words about Blades in the Dark

The title, created by John Harper, thanks to innovative and unique mechanics in the indie RPG scene, has conquered a large group of players since the launch of the manual on the Kickstarter platform (with $ 179,280 collected and almost 4.000 supporters during the campaign), also winning the Golden Geek RPG of the Year in 2015 and theIndie RPG of the Year in 2016.

Blades in the dark is a Fantasy RPG that catapults you into the imaginary city of Doskvol. This is a 19th century metropolis where technology and urban fantasy combine with each other creating a truly intriguing setting.
As members of a real street gang, you will take your steps in a city constantly immersed in shadow. Following a catastrophe, which literally destroyed the sun, some dangerous spirits came to life inside a fog called "mist".

Choose your approach to climb the hierarchy of organized crime, taking on the role of dangerous killers, smugglers, burglars and much more.
Move into the undergrowth of crime, making money, expanding your territory and fueling your bad reputation.

An image of Blades in the Dark

And now let's move on to the questions we all wanted to ask, but never had the "courage" to ask

1) First of all, thank you for being here with us. Is it okay if we start right away?
How do you plan to make the product attractive to Italians who have already purchased Blades in the Dark in English? It's been a few years since the original release of the game. Of course, we know that not many Italians are fascinated by a game that they cannot understand perfectly, but do you have any ideas in mind to make everything more “appetizing”?

It is a pleasure to be here.
Well, Blades in the dark is a deeply layered game, learning all its joints certainly takes time, and the manual format does not always help in finding information. Our intervention aims to simplify the use of the manual, so that it guides the reader in this journey into the depths of the game: in particular we intervened by first improving readability, as well as completely revising the structure of the analytical index to facilitate consultation. We are also building a Quickstart "Didactic" that helps the GM to make a first "lean" session that already puts the necessary ingredients on the table to trigger a charged initial situation for the players, and that guides the action of the first shot until downtime. This will serve for demonstration games, or for the first few sessions with new players.  

I also add that Blades in the Dark is a game that in our opinion has no expiration, and we want to bring it to a large community, make it known to many types of different players and in addition to that Blades for us is not only Blades in the Dark but everything the world of Forged in the Dark, which we hope will find fertile ground in Italy, where we want to support the creations of local authors who want to try this system for their games. 

We hope, with the launch of the Italian manual, to help consolidate and grow the Italian community, for example, we joined the Facebook page Blades in the Dark Italy because the comparison with others is for now the best and irreplaceable way to learn how to I play a game, whether it's to play it or to start breaking it down to make it somehow proper. 

2) Will you keep the padded cover of the English edition?

Yes. The cover is hardcover, with a "soft-touch" effect. We decided to use the cover of the deluxe edition, which for the English edition had been reserved exclusively for copies of the Kickstarter. 

3) Blades in the Dark uses a criminal slang a lot, how do they think to translate it and deal with it?

This was certainly one of the most complex points, maintaining an internal consistency with the translation is not trivial, especially because some terms do not have consolidated translations, as it could be with other games / settings such as classic fantasy. One way we had glimpsed was to lean on dialectal terminology, given that in Italy the bands and associated terms are very tied to the locality, this would probably have shifted the color of the setting too much, as well as requiring a different linguistic sensitivity. 

Instead, it was possible to research and collect ideas from other fiction, or from historical documents and take advantage of a team with different backgrounds in order to have as many cultural references as possible and different approaches. 

One choice we made for example was to translate all the names of the factions, because they are "speaking names" and as the name of the gang were chosen to indicate a characteristic of the faction, it is not just a name, together with the booklets it is it was perhaps one of the most difficult things because in some cases being literal was impossible.  

4) The ideas for adventures are a fundamental part of the manual and there is even an entire Twitter profile dedicated to them. Do you think to add some designed by them?

The space in a manual is precious, we have been conservative from that point of view. We started to collect them to bring out various ideas (together with rumors and events) to be released periodically, so that they are easily recoverable and printable. We had considered reproposing the Twitter bots @doskvolscores and @DoskvolNews in Italian, but at the moment Twitter in Italy is still relatively little used. To date we are taking advantage of a different bot on our page Facebook to explore the game setting through “game book” interactions. We do not rule out integrating with something else in the future.

5) Will you also translate and make all the background material available online, such as move summaries for masters and players?

Player handouts will be freely available on the site as soon as we start with orders. 

In addition to the Game Kit, we are planning to make both translated and original support material available.

6) Do you plan to promote the game in Italian with a series of events or live-streaming games? 

As you can imagine, our initial strategy had to change because of Covid-19, initially our idea was to organize games both at conventions, but also to bring organized evenings in various stores in Italy, to help people understand the I play playing on "themed" evenings led by the staff of Grumpy with a view to resolving doubts and making the heart of the experience live.

This is now happening online, and we are moving to structure it better and better and we hope to take up the idea of ​​organizing "Blades Nights" as soon as possible. 

In the meantime, we have created cards on google spreadsheet for online play (thanks to the starting base of this reddit user) and we have taken action to adapt the Roll20 module in Italian. 

7) Blades in the Dark can bring relatively light stories to life, but it can also stage very heavy situations. What kind of stories do you plan to offer to the convention public? Will you use security measures such as an X-card or a mission statement?  

You are right. Blades in the Dark brings criminal, violent, and risky characters into play when playing characters with negative aspects, which go beyond the classic "hero" and to forget that we still have to take responsibility for what happens at the table, it is always a social activity and respect for people comes first. 

Certainly a practice that we are training as GM and as players, not only in this game, is to always remember to "leave the door open", that is to say sentences like "right?" or "what do you think?", in this way we leave space for other people to intervene without giving the feeling of having given a diktat. He talked about it Epidiah Ravachol (author of Dread and Swords Without Masters) in the context of the ability to "act" during the games in this thread on twitter, explaining how these techniques help to remind those at the table that a collaborative medium is being used, in which everyone they must feel free to to intervene.

La X-Card is a security tool that we believe has some limitations and can be misunderstood or misused.

Another tool that we really appreciate is it script change by Beau Sheldon, which we consider more versatile and less limiting.

Obviously at this time of writing we don't know when we will return to convention play, but these are good practices that also apply to Discord. In particular, if you are not playing with the webcam on, it is good to learn to ask for more feedback, especially from those who are silent or remain on the sidelines.

Beau has also released icons for his script change for use on Discord. 

8) Blades in the Dark today, Scum & Villany and Band of Blades tomorrow? Will you translate other games from the same CE as well?

Something is boiling, when we have something concrete about it we will let you know. Stay tuned!

One of the possible routes for a shot in Doskvol

What we will find in Blades in the Dark and scattered thoughts

In Blades in the Dark you will find:

  • Quick rules and mechanics for the planning of criminal shots, in order not to get lost in
    details and take action immediately
  • A guide to the neighborhoods of the city of Doskvol, complete with important NPCs and local factions,
    as a starting point to start with already explosive situations
  • At stake the situation of the characters in the story counts as much as their ability to give them
    advantages and disadvantages to overcome obstacles

These are just some of the things proposed in the manual and, as we have had the opportunity to deepen in an old article of ours, the system is suitable for many different uses. Do you remember Beam Saber? But this is only one of the games that used the Forged in the Dark system.

I'll be honest, Doskvol's atmosphere never completely convinced me, and that's why I used the game system to organize a gang of Mordheim looking for Mutapietra. The city setting is similar if you notice it and, who knows, in the future when I have finished fixing the last things, you may not find useful the ideas I have absorbed from the Blades in the Dark system which I will try to organize and make public .

For the rest I leave you the latest information about the product: the basic manual will arrive in stores from May 28, and will be anticipated by a pre-order campaign on the website of Grumpy Bear or on Pendragon Game Studio.

If you are interested in the profile Twitter e Instagram of the game, don't forget to follow them!

Blades in the Dark in its future Italian version