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Bluecoats; How do they work?

So I honestly have no idea if this is where I should be posting this, or if it should be going in the Episode 1 Q&A, it didn’t seem like it would since it isn’t directly related to Ep 1 of Rollplay: Blades, but here goes.

@OneSevenDesign, my basic question is how does one end up in the Bluecoats, or Inspectors? Is it like the Colonial- and Industrial-era Police/Watches where people would just volunteer, or is it like modern day police forces where you go to an academy, and get certified and then start the job, is it some weird mixture, or is something completely different?


I´d really like some clarification on this aswell, a part from the process of how to become one I´d also like to know what kind of power the Bluecoats wield? I might´ve misunderstood but from what I can tell they are more like “lapdogs” of the nobles, that uses some sort of “Judge Dredd” logic of they are the law and whatever they do, nobody can go against because they´re the “militia” of nobles?.. But since they´re also common people they can be easily bribed by criminals who might do something that goes against the nobles and the only “real” police men in DuskWald who wants real justice is The Inspectors?

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As I understand it, the law enforcement in Duskwall is very noir. As a result, its three branches fit into very specific stereotypes.

The Bluecoats are your typical corrupt beat cop. This means that they are the actual assholes tv shows cops as being; they beat store shop owners for “protection” money, they accept bribes to ignore criminals selling drugs or smuggling goods, they will “legally” kill people who either piss them off or piss off someone they have a debt with, etc.

The “nobility’s lapdog” comes with the fact that they are still the “law enforcement” and as such, it’s their job to arrest people. They just arrest whoever the nobility tells them to arrest rather than who the evidence tells them to arrest. In fact, the only time they would follow the evidence is if they haven’t been bribed or ordered not to.

After that, you get the magistrates, who are your corrupt judges and as such weild the power to either save or ruin lives, depending on which way the blackmail and/or coin is flowing.

Then you get the Inspectors, which are your noir police detectives/private investigators. A case lands on their desk and they follow it through come hell or highwater. They can’t be bribed or blackmailed by the criminal class and as such, they either finish the job or die in the line of duty.

Now to me personally, being unbribeable is vastly different from actually wanting justice. As law enforcement in Duskwall, they are still bound to obey the nobility. So to me, the inspectors are going to be a mix between Dirty Harries and the “nobility’s enforcer”, where they properly pursue a case, or they will pursue a case however they are told to do so.

Of course, separate and apart from everyone else, you get the Gray Coats, who are former Bluecoats that were almost killed by the nobility in attempt to cover up evidence via arson. So now they’re gangsters who occasionally pretend to be Bluecoats, who basically live to piss off the nobility.

I could be wrong about any or all of this since I was trying to read up on it some of yesterday and most of last night.


That is a perfect synopsis, @Kol_Saresk.


To answer your initial question, Bluecoats are volunteers. There’s no academy, but there’s a year-long trainee period where they learn on the job or get booted. Family legacy can help a lot… if your mother was a well-respected Bluecoat, you can expect better treatment, but it’s still on you to step up, do what needs doing, and follow the lead of your squad Sergeant.


(I’m working on a supplement for Blades that’s about playing the Bluecoats.)


Inspectors often serve in cities in which they did not grow up, so they have no close family ties or conflicting loyaties nearby.


Yeah, really wish I knew Blades in the Dark was a thing back when the Kickstarter was active. Then again, I didn’t even know Rollplay was a thing back then lol. C’est la vie.

I was mostly curious about how the Bluecoats managed to keep wannabe do-gooders from polluting their ranks and at the same time kept the “gang” from becoming too affiliated with the other factions. An academy would surely burden them with too many “Aren’t we supposed to be obeying the law” types, while a simple “please volunteer at your local watch house” would be a perfect recipe for gangs to just flood the local beats with their own people.

A year long probationary seems like a good way to prevent some of this. Perhaps spice it up a bit by having the year long period get split up between the various districts, that way to prevent the local gang ties from having too much weight?

Ah, just saw your comment about the Inspectors, so I guess it’d be like that but on a smaller scale so the Bluecoats still think its normal to be bribed and whatnot, but are still loyal to the Bluecoats? Or are you thinking that maybe the authority being a Bluecoats gives them is enough to keep the individual from flippig on the organization?

Sorry if I’m asking too many questions lol, please feel free to tell me to wait for the expansion. :grin:

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@OneSevenDesign I just watched Episode 6 of your other Blades in the Dark show and listened to Sean Nittner talking about his vigilante hack, so I’m definitely going to be looking at that. It’s just really awesome how you created this microcosm, and it’s just exploding into this huge universe.


Yeah, I like the idea that the trial period is spent rotating through various precincts.

The Bluecoats are pretty much like any other gang, though. If someone infiltrates them and snitches or whatever, they make an example of them. It still happens here and there, but mostly, gang affiliations are obvious and in the open (except for the Unseen and the Hive).