Digital tabletop storefront DriveThruRPG is kicking off its month-long September Setting Sale with a focus on Forged in the Dark titles. Nearly 50 different titles are currently enjoying prices slashed up to 40% off their original point.
Forged in the Dark is the moniker used by tabletop RPGs that adopt the rules established within Blades in the Dark, John Harper’s games of heists and high action in a dark steampunk setting. Some of the best known adaptations are also published by Evil Hat - Scum & VIllainy and Band of Blades. For example - but the wider independent design space caught the clocks and downtime bug some years ago. As a result, the roster of related RPGs is quite wide.
The September Setting Sale, at least the first week of it, runs through September 8th, and contains 42 different systems, supplements and worlds to bring to the weekly roleplay meeting. Blades in the Dark is itself available as a digital download for $16 if you haven’t had a chance to explore the shadowed alleys and crackling towers of Doskvol. There’s also some player aids and tools for running the game to ease groups into its two-phase ecosystem.
Wicked Ones, by Bandit Camp, inverts the tried-and-true formula of venturing into a dungeon and clearing out its monstrous denizens. Instead, the group will play as a band of monsters - orcs, undead, goblins, etc. - who must refashion their subterranean home into a trap-filled labyrinth in order to stop marauding “heroes” from pillaging it. As the campaign advances, the dungeon base will grow, but so will the group’s notoriety. Wicked Ones has a free-to-play version and is selling an expanded deluxe edition as part of the sale.
If clever thematic subversion isn’t your cuppa, Mountain Home might be a better fit. Designed by Karl Scheer, this RPG puts the players in the role of a group of dwarves searching for their clan’s new home among the peaks and valleys of a mountain range. The mission and downtime phases that Blades in the Dark weaves between have been reimagined as fast-paced adventuring sequences and years-long construction of buildings and bonds. A full campaign will stretch decades as the dwarves struggle to protect their nascent home.
Court of Blades hews a little closer to the original’s themes of intrigue and skullduggery but shifts the setting into a magic-infused fantasy renaissance period full of politicking, court manoeuvres and romance. Players will need to balance the overall threat to the city with their own personal goals - they came to court and sought its influence for a reason. They might take up the mantle of one of the city’s ruling houses or choose to be a social pariah, feeding off rumours from the edge of polite society.
Trophy Dark and Trophy Gold are two games in a related trio that rethinks classic adventuring into the wilds with two divergent approaches. Dark lives up to its namesake, spinning yarns about doomed treasure hunters heedlessly seeking riches in the forest and finding much more than they bargained for. Gold, on the other hand, applies the mechanical trappings of old-school fantasy RPGs to a similar narrative structure. Both are, as the store page says, “not hopeful stories” and lean hard into the emotional and mental stress of gradually mounting horror.
This Forged in the Dark portion of DTRPG’s September sale wraps up on Thursday, at which point it will ostensibly feature a different setting and related games. If you’re interested in learning more about the engine,why not check out Dicebreaker’s own list of the best Forged in the Dark RPGs? It’s one of the only RPGs (besides the obvious one) that’s being adapted into visual media with an upcoming television series.