A downloadable game

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What is this?

In the Dark is a streamlined, multi-setting roleplaying game, based on the Forged in the Dark system. It allows you to play as a team of highly-skilled individuals operating on the fringes of law & society. You could be master thieves pulling casino heists, pirates raiding along the Spanish Main, or interplanetary bounty hunters roving the galaxy.

Who is this for?

Firstly, In the Dark is for gaming groups who like Blades in the Dark but want to play in a different setting. Secondly, it's for roleplayers who prefer rules-light, improvisational play. And thirdly, it's for players who want a simple entry point into Forged in the Dark style RPGs.

What does the game include?

The base game includes:

  • A 2-page rules summary & gamemaster mini-guide
  • 9 player character playbooks covering a range of character roles (Ace, Burglar, Engineer, Face, Hunter, Mastermind, Medic, Muscle, & Mystic)
  • A GM playbook for notes & reference
  • Blank playbook & playset sheets to make your own roles & settings

There are also a number of themed playsets, with the possibility of more in the future.

How is this game different from Blades in the Dark?

In the Dark takes the core gameplay of Blades in the Dark and strips away its more complicated procedures. Gameplay is snappier & more improvisational, like a Powered by the Apocalypse Game.

  • Downtime & score procedures have been simplified so gameplay flows freely in & out of jobs.
  • Individual & crew playbooks have been condensed onto a single sheet.
  • Position & effect have been eliminated. Difficulty is determined solely by adding & subtracting dice from a pool.
  • Stats, group actions, gear & load, and harm & healing have all been simplified.
  • Playbook roles have been adjusted to fit a broad range of ensemble stories. 
  • Playsets have been added, allowing your group to play in a wide variety of settings.

Overall, the game is mechanically easier to play, but relies more on player collaboration & inventiveness. Think Monster of the Week or Lasers & Feelings.

Where did this come from?

In the Dark originated as a hack of Scum & Villainy. The goal was to make the game more friendly & engaging for live-streamed actual-play. Versions of it have been played on ManaPot Studios Flights of Fandom streams, in settings ranging from Star Wars to Dishonered to Batman.

What's the release status of the game?

In the Dark is being released as a public beta. It's been playtested with a small group on ManaPot Studios Flights of Fandom, and is ready for public feedback. Any suggestions for changes or reports on play experiences are welcome!


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

In the Dark – Rules & Playbooks 464 kB
In the Dark – Blank Sheets 152 kB
In the Dark – Operators Playset 140 kB
In the Dark – Cyber Runners Playset 118 kB
In the Dark – Desperados Playset 129 kB
if you pay $2 USD or more
In the Dark – Buccaneers Playset 125 kB
if you pay $2 USD or more


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would love to see the “Streets of Gotham” version…

Oh yeah! Streets of Gotham uses the Operators playset, with custom factions

I'll create a page for for free bonus playbooks & add it


I love the first XP Trigger,

"Addressed a challenge in line with your role."

It gives the players and characters more flexibility on how to solve the challenges.

Thanks! I can barely claim credit; it's just a generalized restatement of the more specific XP triggers in the original BitD playbooks. But I do love an XP trigger that leads to thematic problem-solving


I like this system. It makes the fitd games more welcoming. I have a question about the licence : I would like to borrow the action roll for a game I’m creating. Should my whole game be attribution share alike or only the action roll chapter?

Thanks! For licensing: Any material borrowed or adapted from this game should be released under a CC BY-NC-SA license, but any original material you develop can be released under whatever license you'd like. You can include a note in your copyright section or a footnote in the rules text

And let me know what you make! I'd love to see it


Thanks for the explanation! It’s a game about Vikings trying to create a thriving colony in England. It’s still in early development.


I would LOVE to see an affinity template for playsets!!


I built the sheets in InDesign – let me see what I can do about exporting to an Affinity-friendly format

The Affinity PDF editor seems to work fairly well, but I'd love something a bit cleaner! Thanks for your work!