[Blades In The Dark]: Arcus

Welcome to Arcus, an island city. Floating in the sea of clouds. Populated by refugees, academics, mystics, criminals, and entrepreneurs. All of them survivors of a shattered world. We join a group of scoundrels fresh out of Bedlam, looking to carve out a place for them and theirs. Hopefully we’ll see them grow into a powerful organisation, and overcome daring obstacles. We might also see them suffer. Strife from their past, their relationships, and their ambition will all test their resolve.

Should they endure, glory awaits them!

Join us, in our longest series to date. In a world of our own creation; built using The Quiet Year, and run using Blades In The Dark. This is Blades In The Dark: Arcus.

Below we have some reflections from our players and GM. These were written after we completed the game, and serve as insight into how the game affected us.

Through this game you’ll hear us taking our first steps in Blades in the Dark, gradually finding our stride and learning how to really launch off the system into some wild and exciting sessions and some quietly touching ones too.

It’s a campaign in which you can really discover the system, characters, and world along with us. There are too many pleasant surprises to count in our time in Arcus. Together through this game we answer a lot of weird questions and uncover unexpected truths but it never become predictable. It was so exciting seeing the players become invested in the drama of the game, pushing their characters into interesting situations and really hard choices. That’s where this game and this campaign shine, how much the players drove it. I was really just scrambling to keep up with them at times and it was honestly the most satisfying GM experience I’ve had.

I hope you’ll have as much fun getting to know the daring crew of the lovelorn assassin, the haunted daredevil, and  the wilful priestess as we had playing them.

The most striking component of ‘Blades in the Dark’, for me, is the simplicity and effectiveness of the core mechanic. Establishing position and effect and how these can be influenced by partial successes creates such delicious mayhem. Other rules – such as the Devil’s bargain – further add to this.

For more in depth games, the other mechanics, while a little long, are well developed and track things well. Cheat sheets and flow charts are very helpful as it’s easy to miss a particular component of downtime or of settling a score. The highly customisable playbooks and crew sheets of Blades in the Dark adapted themselves to our setting marvellously.

In terms of Arcus, I loved helping to build this setting using ‘The Quiet Year’ and seeing bits of history and culture crop up in play and develop themselves. Additionally, exploring the city through the eyes of our characters fleshed it out in a way that I don’t think many world building games could match.

Finally, I think there’s a lot more to explore in both this setting and this game. I’d happily play either again.

Blades in the Dark was the first tabletop RPG that I ever played (and finished!) a campaign in. I had a lot of fun along the way, and feel that we had a very dynamic interaction between players. I particularly loved the crafting system which really let your imagination surpass the mechanics of the game while still having consequences for your character and story.

I felt that between us all we managed to develop a pretty swashbuckling bizarre adventure featuring all of our rather diverse characters with the use of entanglements and being respectful of each other and our differing play styles. By referencing movie cuts and scene styles it felt like we were composing this great epic which made the experience feel very creative to me while adding to the excellence of play.

The others have said a lot of what I wanted to, but I guess what I’ll add is this.
A lot of what I got out of this campaign, beyond the above mentioned things; were production related.  My editing practices changed throughout this series, and we implemented a lot of new running practices that made for a better experience on the player end, and I hope the listener end as well. You might notice the audio quality in some of the episodes varies as I learnt to read the space better before recording.

This campaign was so important to me and I’m so happy we ran it, and I can’t wait to return to Arcus in the future.

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