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Blades in the Dark


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The Faction Game

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Each notable faction is ranked by Tier—a measure of wealth, influence, and scale. At the highest level are the Tier V and VI factions, the true powers of the city. Your crew begins at Tier 0.

You'll use your Tier rating to roll dice when you acquire an asset, as well as for any fortune roll for which your crew's overall power level and influence is the primary trait. Most importantly, your Tier determines the quality level of your items as well as the quality and scale of the gangs your crew employs—and thereby what size of enemy you can expect to handle.

Gang scale by tier

  • tier v. Massive gangs. (80 people)
  • tier iv. Huge gangs. (40 people)
  • tier iii. Large gangs. (20 people)
  • tier ii. Medium gangs. (12 people)
  • tier i. Small gangs. (3-6 people)
  • tier 0. 1 or 2 people


On the faction ladder next to the Tier numbers is a letter indicating the strength of each faction's hold. Hold represents how well a faction can maintain their current position on the ladder. W indicates weak hold. S indicates strong hold. Your crew begins with strong hold at Tier 0.


To move up the ladder and develop your crew, you need rep. Rep is a measure of clout and renown. When you accrue enough rep, the other factions take you more seriously and you attract the support needed to develop and grow.

When you complete a score, your crew earns 2 rep*. If the target of the score is higher Tier than your crew, you get *+1 rep* per Tier higher. If the target of the score is lower Tier, you get *-1 rep**** per Tier lower (minimum zero).

You need 12 rep* to fill the *rep tracker on your crew sheet. When you fill the tracker, do one of the following:

  • If your hold is weak, it becomes strong. Reset your rep to zero.
  • If your hold is strong, you can pay to increase your crew Tier by one. This costs coin equal to your new Tier x 8. As long as your rep tracker is full, you don't earn new rep (12 is the max). Once you pay and increase your Tier, reset your rep to zero and reduce your hold to weak.


Another way to contribute to the crew's development is by acquiring turf. When you seize and hold territory, you establish a more stable basis for your rep. Each piece of turf that you claim represents abstracted support for the crew (often a result of the fear you instill in the citizens on that turf).

Turf is marked on your rep tracker (see the example below). Each piece of turf you hold reduces the rep cost to develop by one. So, if you have 2 turf, you need 10 rep to develop. If you have 4 turf, you need 8 rep to develop. You can hold a maximum of 6 turf. When you develop and reset your rep, you keep the marks from all the turf you hold.

If you hold 3 pieces of turf, you need only 9 Rep to develop, instead of 12.

Rep Turf

When you develop, you'll clear the 9 Rep marks, but keep the 3 turf marks. Mark turf on the right side, to show the "cap" on how much Rep is needed.

Also, when you acquire turf, you expand the scope of your crew's hunting grounds.

Reducing hold

You may perform an operation specifically to reduce the hold of another faction, if you know how they're vulnerable. If the operation succeeds, the target faction loses 1 level of hold. If their hold is weak and it drops, the faction loses 1 Tier and stays weak.

When a faction is at war, it temporarily loses 1 hold.

Your crew can lose hold, too, following the same rules above. If your crew is Tier 0, with weak hold, and you lose hold for any reason, your lair comes under threat by your enemies or by a faction seeking to profit from your misfortune.

Faction Status

Your crew's status with each faction indicates how well you are liked or hated. Status is rated from -3 to +3, with zero (neutral) being the default starting status. You track your status with each faction on the faction sheet.

When you create your crew, you assign some positive and negative status ratings to reflect recent history. The ratings will then change over time based on your actions in play.

Faction status changes

When you execute an operation, you gain -1 or -2 status with factions that are hurt by your actions. You may also gain +1 status with a faction that your operation helps. (If you keep your operation completely quiet then your status doesn't change.) Your status may also change if you do a favor for a faction or if you refuse one of their demands.

Faction status levels

  • +3: Allies. This faction will help you even if it's not in their best interest to do so. They expect you to do the same for them.
  • +2: Friendly. This faction will help you if it doesn't create serious problems for them. They expect you to do the same.
  • +1: Helpful. This faction will help you if it causes no problems or significant cost for them. They expect the same from you.
  • 0: Neutral
  • -1: Interfering. This faction will look for opportunities to cause trouble for you (or profit from your misfortune) as long as it causes no problems or significant cost for them. They expect the same from you.
  • -2: Hostile. This faction will look for opportunities to hurt you as long as it doesn't create serious problems for them. They expect you to do the same, and take precautions against you.
  • -3: War. This faction will go out of its way to hurt you even if it's not in their best interest to do so. They expect you to do the same, and take precautions against you. When you're at war with any number of factions, your crew suffers +1 heat from scores, temporarily loses 1 hold, and PCs get only one downtime action rather than two. You can end a war by eliminating your enemy or by negotiating a mutual agreement to establish a new status rating.

If your crew has weak hold when you go to war, the temporary loss of hold causes you to lose one Tier. When the war is over, restore your crew's Tier back to its pre-war level.


Each crew sheet has a map of claims available to be seized. The claim map displays a default roadmap for your crew type. Claims should usually be seized in an orderly sequence, by following the paths from the central square, the crew's lair.

However, you may attempt to seize any claim on your map, ignoring the paths (or even seek out a special claim not on your map) but these operations will always be especially difficult and require exceptional efforts to discover and achieve.

Seizing a claim

Every claim is already controlled by a faction. To acquire one for yourself, you have to take it from someone else. To seize a claim, tell the GM which claim on your map your crew intends to capture. The GM will detail the claim with a location and a description and will tell you which faction currently controls that claim. Or the GM might offer you a choice of a few options if they're available.

If you choose to ignore the roadmap paths when seizing a claim, the GM might tell you that you'll need to investigate and gather information in order to discover a claim of that type before you can attempt to seize it.

Execute the operation like any other score, and if you succeed, you seize the claim and the targeted faction loses the claim.

Seizing a claim is a serious attack on a faction, usually resulting in -2 faction status with the target, and potentially +1 status with its enemies.

As soon as you seize a claim, you enjoy the listed benefit for as long as you hold the claim. Some claims count as turf. Others provide special benefits to the crew, such as bonus dice in certain circumstances, extra coin generated for the crew's treasury, or new opportunities for action.

Losing a claim

An enemy faction may try to seize a claim that your crew holds. You can fight to defend it, or negotiate a deal with the faction, depending on the situation. If you lose a claim, you lose all the benefits of that claim. If your lair is lost, you lose the benefits of all of your claims until you can restore your lair or establish a new one. To restore or establish a new lair, accomplish a score to do so.


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