Actual Play – The cost of freedom (7/18/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark

Note: I fell way behind on my AP reports so these are written many moons later based off my notes. The accuracy will likely vary greatly! Also, this is just transcribed from my notes. Things may be out of order!

Pondering before the Game

As part of season three, and part of setting up a new starting situation I looked at the Societies status with other factions to decide who would take actions that would affect them. Here’s how they looked:

Hive -1
Circle of Flame -1
Ink Rakes -1
Bluecoats -2
Grinders -2
Billhooks -2

This looked to me like it was mostly smaller gangs that had really issues with them, and that it wouldn’t be hard at all for them to get the Bluecoats to apply some pressure. Since the Society often played the “we’re just students” card, the gangs would work at hurting that credibility by exposing some of their actions. I’d figure out more details later, but right now I saw some folks who were willing to go out of their way to take from the DSS.

On the other hand, they also had powerful friends:

Leviathan Hunters +1
Deathlands Scavengers +1
City Council +1
Gondoliers +2
Charterhall University +2
Lampblacks +3

My default would be to have the Lampblacks offer up some opportunities, however I’ve leaned on old Baszo a lot, and wanted to see Charterhall get more involved with their students. I was thinking about their lair, a study hall on campus and how a) they’ve grown to big for it, and b) they never use it (the Cat and Candle has really become the place they meet), so I got thinking about how the college would react to having a bunch of criminals traipsing through the library and the study hall. Several professors already tried to kick them out and failed, so what to do now… promote them! More below.

Back to Doskvol and all it’s terrors

Elke went to check in on Danwood. He had been continuing her research while she was in Bellweather, though she didn’t know that, nor to what extent. Outside Morlan Hall she found two people, clearly not students “standing guard” over the entrance. Frog and Bug were two-slug henchmen anyone could hire to twist an arm, or in this case, pick at their fingernails and make snide remarks to students who passed by. Elke sized the up immediately but didn’t find out exactly what they were doing there till she met with Danwood.

His office was a mess, the very image of an academic on the edge of a break through. Sheaves of paper covering every surface, books stacked up in every corner, plates of half eaten dinners decomposing, and at the center of the maelstrom, Danwood. His red beard seemed to gained some grey hairs in her absence, his faced was knotted up from spending hours reading arcane books by candlelight, his fingertips were stained with ink, and his eyes were bloodshot and feverish.

The professor had Elke’s work out all over the office and she could tell he had been making some progress, though looking at it form a different direction than she had. While her studies were pure spectrology, Danwood was looking into the charters and histories of other organizations that had delved into similar research.

The knowledge currently keeping him up at night? A hunch that the Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh had developed a ritual by which a human could “elevate” themselves into the undying form a demon. He had no idea of the ritual worked, but he had some insights into what it involved, and it terrified him. Enough so that he hired Frog and Bug to be his bodyguards as he swore he had noticed people watching him strangely as of late, and feared the Church might aware of his investigation into them.

Elke, undeterred by the bunch of hedonists, encouraged him to keep looking into it, and then told him about her experience in Bellweather, asked for her research into the reanimation of the dead to give to them [Reduce Heat] and said she wanted to focus on learning about the trauma that spirits suffer leaving the body, and how they might slow, stop, or reverse it.

Meanwhile

Hix asked Jadvyga about what happened to Arquo in the Deathlands and asked her for help designing a sparkcraft skull cap that would protect is wearer from the fear they normally suffer in the presence of powerful ghosts. [Crafting: Design 2/8 ticks complete]

Jadvyga then took Elke shopping along with Roslyn Kellis (her chatty noble friend). While out they probed and Roslyn admitted what they already knew, that she was Lady Drake, a member of the Circle of Flame, and by them thwarting (read: possessing) Sukur, they stopped his assassination attempt on her. She agreed to speak to the Circle about on behalf of he DSS and ask them to overlook the affair in the lost district, if the Society could help them recover the Hand of Kotar.

Later Elke, Hix, and Harland visited the Lampblacks to make amends for their loss. Baszo was his normal charming self, but he told Elke that if she wanted to make him loosing a member right, she’d have to do the same, so she agreed to give up one of the Society to join the Lampblacks.

Elke began her own investigation into the Church of Ecstasy to find out what they are up to [Long Term Project]

The Gills brought them in 5 coins selling it’s wares.

What Rocked

Elke had two great conversations this game, first with Danwood (panicked) and the with Bazso (calculated negotiations).

What could have improved

My memory on this was hazy, and the notes didn’t make complete sense, so this AP report has a few holes in it. Did Hix turn on Lyssa? I don’t even remember them knowing each other!

I didn’t quite piece together what the factions would be up to (I needed to give them some new clocks or reconcile completed ones) so we still didn’t get the full effect of the time passing this session.

I’m not quite sure where I was/am going with the Hand of Kotar. Corro sent it to Sukur, who gave it to the Reconciled to teach him how to use it (though he never got the chance), but now the Circle wants, but Sukur was a member and he had it. So where it is now. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?  It just feels a little like it’s a hot potato that I’ve moved arbitrarily rather than really basing it on the players actions. I feel like I need to stop in these moments, ask myself what’s going on in the minds of the NPCs so I know how they will react, and then follow the players actions. I know that’s like GMing advice 101 but in this particular case, I’ve gotten myself a little mixed up and because of that I’ve been sewing confusion at the table as well.