Actual Play – Doskvol Riots of 847 Playtest (5/27/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Colin Fahrion, Alan Hodges, Jon Edwards, and Alex Miller
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: Doskvol Riots

Friends and I gathered around a table in the atrium at KublaCon to try out a little Blades. Though Alex hadn’t played before and Jon hadn’t seen the rules in many an edition, we were all really excited to play together. So excited in fact that we did a score, took a break, came back, did our downtime, and then another score to boot!

Doskvol Riots

This is my latest score and I’m excited about running it. The idea came from wondering why it is that Doskvol citizenry puts up with all the shit that rolls downhill onto them and deciding that sometimes they don’t. Some of that came from watching episode 17 of the Last Word where the crew incited the citizens to push back against the Bluecoats and the Spirit Wardens. And finally, there is a part of me that just wants to burn it all down right now, and this feels like a safer way that expressing that feeling, than say, kerosene.

Ryan Dunleavy’s beautiful map

Just before heading out to Kubla I was delighted because the canvas print I ordered of Ryan’s map of Doskvol arrived, and that meant I got to have this beauty out on the table during our game.

So pretty.

Ulf, Corro, and scoundrels inbetween

The score started with our scoundrels, who were in good with Ulf realizing that he was backing out of a deal with them because of pressure from the Hive, and in return he was getting a whole bunch of guns to help him take turf in Crows Foot.

Being the enterprising scoundrels they were the crew decided to knock over the Hive on their way to deliver the guns, slip away thanks to help from the Gondoliers (a flashback that ended up with them in debt to the Gondoliers and cutting them in on the action) and then selling them (or at least most of them) to Ulf at half the price the Hive would have charged. And thus a crew of weapons dealers was born!

In the process though, things changed. Their alliance with Ulf went from one of opportunity to one of idealology. Quillion who fought in the War for Skovlan Independence (aka The Unity War) decided that the war had never really ended, it just changed shape to be a battle on the streets of Doskvol. Ulf granted the crew turf (a tailors shop that he had taken over) and they made allies with the Gondoliers, but bitter enemies of the Hive.

Based on some inspiration I had talking with John about allowing the first session to be the forming of the crew, I was really excited that at the end of this we had crew type (Hawkers, a lair, some allies and enemies, a couple crew contacts, and could have launched into the next score. In fact, we were having such a good time that we did a second score!

What Rocked

I haven’t had a chance to game with my friend Alex in years. It was so much fun to be back at the table with him. In fact, every single person at that table were folks I hadn’t gamed with in some time and so it was a mighty fine reunion all around!

Jon’s character Quillion changed so much. Not only did his beliefs change but he was also beat up, arrested, and trauma’d out. And all of these things rolled up into each other. His trauma made him vicious. His arrest promoted his crew to bail him out. His gaping chest would gave him a vendetta against the Hive. (Note: His arrest wasn’t actually treated as Harm, I just though it would be fun to fill that space up for the pic. They had a lot of heat after the first score and when I rolled entanglements I got a 6 (even on 2 dice keep the lower) and since we had ended the first score with Quillion being chased down by Bluecoats and having just stressed out, he was the natural candidate)

We did some amazing reincorporation of NPCs throughout the whole game (something I wish I was better about doing in my weekly Blades game). When

What could have improved

The riots weren’t quite as front and center of the action as I was aiming for. Mostly they represented danger and opportunity (something Doskvol is ripe with anyway). Get to close to the riots and you’re bound to get hurt. Once you’re inside however, the area was effectively lawless as the Bluecoats weren’t really trying to end the riots so much as contain them to Crows Foot. That part worked, but there wasn’t a lot of meaningful interaction with rioters themselves. Food for thought for next time.