I’ve been champing at the bit to get Blades in the Dark, John Harper’s latest RPG opus, to the table recently and on Sunday last I finally got my chance. I was running this game for a totally new group and not my regular gaming chums so I was a bit nervous about making a good first impression. On top of that two of the group were pretty new to roleplaying so I felt the expectation of making sure everyone had a good time and also introducing them to a more indie style of game.
We got going a little later than I had planned but I still hoped to get through Character and Crew creation and the first heist. Character creation was a breeze, ending up with a Hound, Leech and a Lurk and some background details for the world as we figured out where everyone came from. I like that kind of thing in character creation where the players create parts of the world as they attach themselves to it, helps really invest them in the game from the off. Best detail was that Leech’s vice revolved around Knitting for Pleasure.
Going with the default theme of a group of Thieves we covered the basic rules and then got to it with the setup provided in the book.
Confronted by Baszo Baz, the leader of the Lampblacks as to their intentions now a gang war was on, the group took the easy route out and decided to work for him. Bazso immediately put them to work stealing part of the Red Sashes war chest. Laying out the location of one of the high end drug dens that have had a lot of activity around it they set about infiltrating it with a Stealth plan.
The Leech went in the front looking to run a distraction, pitching some new drugs to the man in charge of the den. The Hound and the Lurk went in the back, the engagement roll allowing them to bypass the initial infiltration. Once inside we had a flashback to an earlier stealing of some blueprints, loving the flashback mechanic.
Meanwhile in the offices of the White Crow, the drug den they had infiltrated, the Leech was making some inroads in selling her questionable concoctions to the Red Sashes. Initially wanting to try and draw out the leader of the Red Sashes she decided against the Devil’s Bargain I offered her to make that happen and made her way out into the main den. 
Sneaking around the Den the Hound and the Lurk had narrowed down the possible locations from the blueprints to two separate parts of the den. Splitting the party, always the best plan, the Lurk headed to the kitchen and the Hound to the basement. The Lurk snuck into the Kitchen, unfortunately knocking over some pots and pans stacked behind the door alerting the staff that were in there. Trying to Sway his way around the problem, and succeeding, one of the staff went off to find the madame running the floor of the den to confirm he was a guest. The other, well he met with the pointy end of the Lurk’s answer to him being alive.
Our Leech was just coming down the stairs when she met the member of the kitchen staff looking for the madame. A brief conversation had him all turned around and back towards the kitchen. On seeing the new wall decorations of white and arterial blood he began to have a thought that was quickly snuffed out by the application of more of the Leech’s drugs. The Alarm clock I had started was halted in it’s path, for now.
The hound having found the stash in the basement was in need of the Leech’s lock picking expertise whilst the Lurk dealt with the mess in the Kitchen, barricading the door and letting himself out the back. The others quickly dealt with the lock and snuck out of the sewers as they heard commotion from up above and they made there way back to their lair.
Bazso was impressed and they are bound to get some more work from him in future. The Red Sashes are destabilised but the Leech now has an in with them and wit will be up to the crew to see how that all plays out.
I really enjoyed running Blades. It felt very smooth, even for a first time out, and the basic system is very easy to grasp. I’d kept this heist reasonably simple due to time constraints, but next time I hope to make things go a bit longer by throwing a few more complications their way as they do what they do.