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Licencing of Blades in the Dark is now possible with the December 2017 release of our system reference document (SRD) using the moniker "Forged in the Dark". The contents of the SRD are available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

Use of this license will simply require that you make a clear statement (we’ll give you the text) that your game is based on our material. Unlike some other Creative Commons options, this is not “viral”—you don’t have to make your derived content open at all. We think it’s awesome if you do, though, because it means you’re contributing something back to the community.

Forged in the Dark

To make legal use of the Forged in the Dark logo, you must include the following text:

Blades in the Dark™ is a trademark of One Seven Design. The Forged in the Dark Logo is © One Seven Design, and is used with permission.

Forged In the Dark Logo


A Guide To Using the Blades in the Dark SRD with Creative Commons

This is aimed at designers, writers, and publishers who’d like to build on the Creative Commons release of the Blades in the Dark System Reference Document. From here on in, we’ll just call it “the SRD”.

The most important thing to understand if you’re new to Creative Commons licenses is that we’ve chosen the most liberal one possible. In particular, the license we chose isn’t viral, which means you don’t have to license those works under a Creative Commons license if you don’t want to!


The first right you have under the Creative Commons Attribution license is a straight-up copy of the SRD. If you do this, just remember to include the original copyright notice found in those documents, and don’t add any kind of copy protection.

Non-US Works

It might be useful for you to know that the Creative Commons Attribution Unported license was written using the terminology of the Berne Convention and various WIPO Copyright treaties, so you shouldn’t run into any problems if you’re publishing in a jurisdiction other than the United States.

(If you are interested in translating the Blades in the Dark book for publication, that's a different matter. Contact John Harper to work out the details and licensing contract in that case. The SRD material does not cover translations of the core game book.)

Creating New Works

You have the right to create new works derived from the SRD.


The biggest requirement for anything you do based on our work is attribution; you must give us credit for our work. The next section goes into detail on how you should do that.

Second, you can’t imply or state that One Seven Design is endorsing or sponsoring you unless we’ve made a special arrangement with you. Don’t use our logo or the Blades in the Dark logo without talking to us first. There is a Forged in the Dark logo you can use very easily, though; see above. Also, don't use the name Blades in the Dark in the title of your product.

Third, you may not use any material from Blades in the Dark that is not in the SRD content -- including but not limited to the setting of Duskwall, NPCs, artwork, or maps. You must create your own original material using the Blades system as a base. The entire Duskwall/Shattered Isles intellectual property is off limits.

Finally, you can’t use the SRD to make something which would be prejudicial to One Seven Design's honor or reputation. (That’s exactly how the legal license puts it!) We’re not sure how you’d do that, but don’t.

That’s all the legal stuff. As always, if you’re unsure about exactly what to do or if you’re investing a lot of money in publishing something based on our work, think about talking to a lawyer.

This isn’t a legal requirement, but we’d love it if you let us know what you were doing with Blades in the Dark and maybe passed along a few copies — digital ones would be fine. Contact us!


So, how do you give us credit for our work?

This is really simple. Wherever you put your own copyright, add the following text:

This work is based on Blades in the Dark (found at, product of One Seven Design, developed and authored by John Harper, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (

All the text has to be the same size as the rest of your copyright section — that’s one of the license requirements.

If you’re publishing electronically, you can make “Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license” a link to and “Blades in the Dark” a link to, instead of printing the URLs separately.

That’s it!