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Actual Play & News

Actual Play & News

Hey guys! Exciting news: We’re doing a few live games with Sean Nittner and the Actual Play folks @ twitch.tv/actualplay every other Monday evening! You can even catch the episodes in post on YouTube by looking for Court of Blades (how cool is that?).

In other news, we’ve gotten just the most incredible amount of feedback over the last couple of months that has made us want to take a closer look at creating some mechanics to really drive home the political side of the game. We’ll be releasing v2 of Court of Blades for playtesting shortly, along with some other neat stuff. But first we all have to make it through the holiday season!

For now, wishing you and yours a great rest of your year, and be sure to come chat at us on Twitter in the meantime!

Updates & an Invitation for You!

Updates & an Invitation for You!

We’ve been a little quiet on the website lately. So here’s what’s been going on: We did a guest spot on the Hacked in the Dark podcast talking about some of the inspirations and goals of the game, which you can also catch here if you’re interested in the behind-the-scene stuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3VlHpcgHbY

We’ve been hard at work revising the current game, and we’re not finished yet!


Finally, if you didn’t already see on the right-hand side of your screen when you loaded into this website, we added a shiny new mailing list! The encouragement we’ve received to add one has been amazing, so thanks to YouTube how-to videos, we now have a functioning Mailchimp mailing list that you can sign up for! Of course, we solemnly swear we are up to no good, and also promise not to spam you. If you’d like updates on how our road to publishing is going, or our upcoming live play, be sure to sign up!

Thank you all for your continued amazing support!

-A Couple of Drakes

Open Playtesting Draws to a Close

Open Playtesting Draws to a Close

Today is a big day for team Drake. We’ve been spending the last few months testing out mechanics with multiple groups, running games at a rate of 2-3 nights a week, as well as receiving feedback from groups playing this game without us, and we’re in a great place. As of this moment, we are ending the open playtesting phase so that we can concentrate fully on editing and finishing.

We want to thank everyone again for all of the support we’ve received, and updates will be in the offing as we determine ‘where from here?’

House Sheet Changes & an Important Announcement

House Sheet Changes & an Important Announcement

As promised, tweaks to House Abilities and Coterie Upgrades have been made! Click the ‘Get The Playbooks’ link in the main menu, or in the public document for the game, for the duration of the playtesting period.

Important note: We’ll be removing the playtesting materials from the site on September the 1st, as we feel great about the amount of feedback we’ve received over the last couple of months. By all means, save a copy of everything if you’d like to continue using the first draft source material and haven’t already done so!

At this time, we’re turning our attention toward fixing any sticking points noted by playtesters over the last few weeks, finishing up needful chapters that better clarify mechanics for the folks who haven’t played a published Forged in the Dark game yet, and so on– okay there might be some top-secret playbooks and setting material in the works too. We’re pretty firmly in the (not exciting for anyone but us, but decidedly necessary) ‘finishing up’ phase over here, and already chomping at the bit to really get to work on the next big project.

Thanks for sticking with us, guys!

Technical Notes

Technical Notes

If you’re familiar with the Forged in the Dark SRD or the game Blades in the Dark, this article will help you get your head around key mechanical changes we’ve made to fit this setting. These are the parts that are most heavily under playtesting. If you’re new to Forged in the Dark games, then give this article a pass because it will only serve to confuse you.

In short, we did not set out to reinvent the wheel here. We took what was already an amazing system and only made the mechanical changes or additions that were necessary to tell the kind of story we were trying to tell. So, without further ado, here are the biggest features to look out for:

1. Court of Blades is intended to be a slower burn than other Forged in the Dark games, so it requires more experience to unlock upgrades and action dice across the board. It does not offer more stress or trauma slots, rather, it expects the player to take more care during play to minimize overloading their stress tracker if they want to make it to the end with a single character.

2. The idea of “Social Seasons” are introduced. This divides game play into bite-sized segments and creates a pressure-cooker environment where the PCs cannot possibly achieve every single goal they want to achieve in the allotted time. Just the same, the choices made within each season will affect their chance of advancing the house they serve.

3. The GM’s Turn is introduced. In-between each social season (essentially every three game sessions) the GM will make a set of rolls to determine how the political landscape of the game is changing. Our intention is to make sure this additional bookkeeping does not take more than 5-10 minutes. It exists to create the amount of politicking necessary to make the non-PC houses feel alive and constantly scheming.

If you decide to join us and playtest this game with your group, we would love to hear feedback from you! Send us a message any time.

The Game

The Game

Court of Blades is a tabletop roleplaying game of power politics, Renaissance magic, gunpowder diplomacy, and romantic skulduggery, Forged in the Dark by a Couple of Drakes.

In Court of Blades, we take on the roles of retainers of a newly risen House of the Esultare in the great city of Ilrien. The Esultare, composed of the six Houses Major have a pecking order, and every citizen is aware of every house’s position within that order. 

You’ve already risen so high, but to secure your place and ensure that your House ascends to the highest seat of power in the world, you will have to learn about your rival houses, advance your House’s agenda, and risk your lives in a world of duplicity and magic. The errands upon which you will be dispatched are perilous. The forces arrayed against you are pitiless. The bonds of family in the city of Ilrien are Forged in the Dark.

You are a retainer in a coterie, powerful, and yet, the bottom of the greater pecking order. Your job is to support the family until it is elected First House. You will not be like the others. You will not be another disposable catspaw in the polite wars of Ilrien. Your private goal is to become a titled part of the family through service, securing your legacy.

We play to find out if our retainers can play the Great Game and win it all, or if they’ll fall prey to the machinations of their rivals.

Open playtesting has concluded, and Court of Blades is undergoing editing at this time.