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Court of Blades - Scandal, Forged in the DarkClick to magnify
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Court of Blades - Scandal, Forged in the Dark

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As part of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale this title has been marked down by up to 33%. For more values visit the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale page.

Court of Blades is our successfully Kickstarted, campaign-length, Forged in the Dark game of power politics, gunpowder diplomacy, renaissance magic, and romantic skullduggery. 

This PDF comes complete with a Quickstart Kit with starting scenarios and pregenerated characters to get you into the action immediately, and a bonus Artbook.


Court of Blades takes place in the vibrant, fantasy renaissance city-state of Ilrien, in a world populated by scheming nobles, court magicians, and dashing duelists.

As a noble retainer, you will engage in the polite civil warfare of the great families. You will host lavish balls, and manipulate the courts, uncover the plots of your rivals, protect the city from arcane dangers, manage your own intrigues and personal scandals, leverage your reputations, connections, and so much more.

Inspired by infamous warring families like history's Medicis and Pazzis, Shakespeare's Montagues and Capulets, or Game of Thrones' Starks and Lannisters, in Court of Blades you will take on the role of a talented retainer to a newly risen House of the Esultare in the great city of Ilrien. The Esultare, composed of the six Houses Major, are considered to be the most powerful families in the Principalities. Amongst them they have their own pecking order, and every citizen of Ilrien is aware of every house’s position within that order.

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

Court of Blades is built on the bones of John Harper's Forged in the Dark system. It is a fiction-first, d6 dice pool game that is easy to play and focuses on the action, while giving you all of the tools you need to tell incredible stories with mechanical support. Responsibility for shaping the story is shared equally amongst the group, and there is very little GM prep-work to be done before each game. 

It uses a core resolution mechanic that asks the players whether their current action is being done from a controlled, risky, or desperate position. Each situation will result in a number of different outcomes beyond mere success or failure. In Court of Blades, even a "bad roll" will change the landscape, affect the scene, and drive the story in interesting and satisfying directions. 

Here are some of the new toys we’ve added to help you tell these stories of intrigue and peril:

  •  A FitD Game built for campaign-length play. While you can absolutely run a one-shot, or a single Social Season; as lovers of long-running games, Court of Blades was built to run for 30+ sessions. Plenty of time to develop deep bonds with rivals and friends, change an entire city, and maybe even find true love as you claw your way to the top.
  •  New and easy-to-use GM’s tools that allow you to create a fully dynamic city that is filled with constantly evolving plots. With just a few dice rolls in-between each Social Season of the game, there will always be new secrets for the PCs to uncover.
  •  The “Uncover a Plot” mechanic to discover what your rival houses are secretly up to. And, of course, mechanics to foil their efforts and pave the way for your house’s ascension.
  • Way more “special permission” abilities and items than you can shake a narrative stick at.
  •  New mechanics for Scandals, Bonds, Romance and Paramours, Intrigues, Influence, Warring Houses and more.


Players will each choose one of the six core Playbooks to build their retainer, ranging from the political mastermind, to the powerful magician. Or change the game with one of the two “advanced” Playbooks, the Kiss and the Curse. One bound by fae blood, and the other by dark and forgotten magic.

Multiple players can choose the same playbook, but the team gets a better range of unique abilities when everyone chooses a different playbook as their core concept. You can always reach into other playbooks to mix and match special abilities later!

The Bravo is a dashing sworn-sword, quick of wit and unmatched in combat. The Bravo gains xp when they address a challenge with violence or panache.

The Hawk is a dangerous bounty hunter, menacing and unflappable in the face of danger. The Hawk gains xp when they address a challenge with pursuit or observation.

The Eye is a master agent and infiltrator, cannier than a skulk of foxes and just as hard to catch. The Eye gains xp when they address a challenge with stealth or perception.

The Couth is a street-wise wildcard, lucky or dangerous enough to rise from the gutter. The Couth gains xp when they address a challenge with evasion or mayhem.

The Knack is a magical expert, gifted with arcane power and knowledge of the hidden world. The Knack gains xp when they address challenges with arcane knowledge or power.

The Key is a political mastermind, able to craft arguments and devices with ease. The Key gains xp when they address challenges with expertise or calculation.

The Kiss is a fae-touched charmer and magical manipulator. The Kiss gains xp when they address challenges with fae power or control.

The Curse is a haunted revenant bearing ancient knowledge, weaponry, and a grudge. The Curse gains xp when they address challenges with callous disregard or unearthly endurance.

You’ve already risen so high, Retainer, but to secure your place and ensure that the house you serve ascends to the highest seat of power in the Principalities, 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.

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (1)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Simon S November 21, 2022 2:00 am UTC
Hi - would you tell me the changes / change log in the recently update version?
Customer avatar
Shaun S November 19, 2022 6:12 pm UTC
I second the issue of spirited café being in the player kit. Please fix this.
Customer avatar
Dominic R November 01, 2022 10:14 pm UTC
I'm really looking forward to playing this game with my group, it sounds exactly up our alley!
Also, the playerkit in this version seems to be for Spirited Cafe, not Court of Blades
Customer avatar
W. A June 19, 2022 5:48 am UTC
Sad to see no reviews here, if you comp me a copy I will leave you a review. Eh .. eh ... ?
Customer avatar
Patrick S October 28, 2022 6:24 am UTC
Wow, you're setting your bar really low, eh ... eh?
Customer avatar
W. A November 02, 2022 12:06 am UTC
I'm open to negotiation. Indeed, if you comp me the pdf, I read and legitimately like it, I will buy the POD in addition to leaving a review. If I don't like it enough to justify a POD purchase, I will still leave a review.

Customer avatar
Benjamin N May 28, 2022 12:33 pm UTC
Will there be a POD version of this book in the near future?
Customer avatar
Shawn D May 29, 2022 10:29 pm UTC
As soon as our proof comes in and we can approve it, we'll get that POD option up!
Customer avatar
Benjamin N May 31, 2022 11:13 am UTC
Whoah. Are you me??
Customer avatar
Benjamin N June 02, 2022 6:08 am UTC
I'm you in a mirror universe ;)

I was tripping out on the idea that there's another Benjamin N as well.
Customer avatar
Phillip G May 28, 2022 3:28 am UTC
Does this game have fillable playbooks?
Customer avatar
Shawn D May 29, 2022 10:30 pm UTC
As yet we don't have a fillable PDF character sheet, just the print and play. We'll work on getting a fillable PDF option up as well.
Customer avatar
Phillip G July 03, 2022 8:33 pm UTC
Any news on fillable pdfs. I really dig the setting, but I can't run anything in person anymore and my players kind of struggle without a proper character sheet?
Customer avatar
Benjamin N May 24, 2022 6:03 pm UTC
Hey! Very interested, however, I'm getting a 404 Not Found error when clicking on Full-Size Preview.
Customer avatar
Shawn D May 25, 2022 6:34 pm UTC
Glad to hear you're interested, but kind of a shame about the preview. The DriveThru interface strikes again. Let me see if I can rectify that!
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File Last Updated:
November 18, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on May 24, 2022.
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