Actual Play – We’re getting Hix back! (11/8/2016)

ghost_titleGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.7.1

What game are we playing?

Before the game started we talked about two things.

  1. Would it make more sense to change the crew type to a cult? The reason being is that if Harland is going to recruit a new sect of the Path of Echoes it would be cool of the other crew members were involved. We talked about it back and forth and decided that for now, the crew would take the Anointed special ability (from the Cult crew sheet) and if the took more cult moves, might transition over to it completely.
  2. The game has really drifted from the characters primarily be students. The school still comes into the game, but it’s rarely part of the scores. A lot of that comes down to me not making the school come alive with NPCs but it’s also that we haven’t focused on scores to improve clout within Charterhall University. We didn’t come to any conclusive decisions but decided introduce a few more of the CU cast as well as make one very important change to the crew: Harland would go out on his own to deal with the Path of Echoes. This way he didn’t bring a war with a Tier 3 gang to the Doskvol Spectral Society!

Arquo joining the DSS?

We flashed back to the meeting in the lab, just after Elke transferred Nyryx to Harland, rather, erm, physically.

After the transference Arquo approached and told them that his standing within the Lampblacks was not good. Last he left off Bazso was very displeased with him. And the society looked to be doing good things, and looked like maybe they could use someone like him…. so… could he join?

Harland and Elke both looked unsure of how to answer, and so instead asked for a moment to converse. They both liked him for sure, but Elke pointed out that he wasn’t a student… they were a student society! The went back and forth and finally decided to offer him a provisional membership, and that he could work for Esme in the Cat & Candle.

When they made the offer, Arquo, who had either been in the military or in a hardened gang most of his life, misunderstood and thought they were offering him a civilian job working at the C&C. A requirement from a life of violence and mayhem. He gladly accepted!

During the meeting though, Harland (with a wounded Nyryx inside him) kept finding himself standing over Elke, putting his hand on her shoulder involuntarily, and stepping between her and Arquo.

Help from Nyryx

After he was out of the lab and away from Elke, Nyryx spoke to Harland. It was still a rushed and pained voice, like it hurt him to talk. “Give me life and I will help you hide from the Path of Echoes.”

And so, when Harland did feed a drunken blacksmith to him, Nyryx was more than happy to take him to the same underground spirit club that one Oskarr Scurlock likes to visit. And there he found some sanctum, at least for a while… and during his time there, he both got to know, and got to be known by a group called the Wraiths.*

How Fares Hix

We wanted to see how Hix was doing so we picked up from when she had been carried off, rather roughly, by the Grinders. Blindfolded they put her in a canal boat and then took her back to their turf, which she could tell from the smell, was close to the docks.

Once there Hutton, the gang leader, looked her over, noticed her injured arm but didn’t see to care. In fact he looked distracted and never made eye contact. Hix tried to engratiate herself to him but he seemed too distracted to care about the words she said. [Failed Sway. Opportunity Lost]. Tak her upstairs and put her to work.

Above the canal dock Hix could tell she was still underground, in the basement of a factory that was clambering away above. There she saw members of the Grinders, many of them with open sores, boils, and deformities. They were packing away arms and munitions into common items, making sure they would be concealed even under close inspection. Hix was sent to hammer lids on crates. Hard to do with her injured arm!

So lets get her back!

The demands from the Grinders were simple, they wanted what the DSS took from them: Arden Keel and an imperial musket. For that they would return Hix. So the Society set off to make that happen.

Arquo, in his past had held onto a imperial musket many times. He knew that some soldiers “lost” theirs to a high bidder, or never turned them in at the end of their service. Others were smuggled and sold illicitly, but no matter what, they were like carrying a one way ticket to Ironhook in your pocket. Dangerous. He had a friend from the service, Celene, who now served in the very small contingent of Imperial Guard, a largely ceremonial position of guarding the Emperor’s estate in Doskvol, not that he had visited it in the last 500 years. Celene had mentioned offhandedly in the past that she knew a few soldiers who sold their rifles to a merchant in the Nightmakert named Mordis. And of course she had her own officially issued musket as well. [Flashback to Gather Information].

Knowing they might be able to get a musket, the real challenge was finding Arden Keel, the son of powerful family in the Ministry of Transport. And then of course convincing him to re-join the Grinders.

A letter was delivered in Keel manor and delivered to young master Keel. Due to good fortune the letter had not be screened by their security staff and made it into his hands directly. It was subtle enough that the casual reader would not know it’s origin, but poignant enough that Arden understood it was a summons from the Grinders. [Deception Plan, 1D6 rolled. Result:6!]

Meet at the Menagerie

The next morning, on what everyone assumed was a regular trip to the docks for a young man that should be looking in on his family’s affairs, Arden slipped away from his ward, Major Crane, and made his way to The Menagerie. The outdoor zoo filled with exotic creatures that have been shoved in cages and tanks, and often trodden through muddy fields by Captain Rye for public display.

In the canal dock beside it, camouflaged by tarps, was the Society, who had dressed themselves up as Grinders, complete with painted on boils and blemishes as well as bandages and bulky clothes. [Controlled Finesse to apply the disguise. Result: 6]. Elke, who was wearing her Sprit Mask so he wouldn’t recognize her called out to him. “Arden. Over here!”

Somewhat startled but quickly excited by the possibilities, Arden quickly raced over. He is a young man, new to the world in many ways, and confident because of it. He looked over his shoulder several times, concerned that his ward would find him, before greeting the “Grinders” to find out what what was going on.

They spoke for sometime and Arden seemed hesitant. He wanted to join the fight… but it sounded like the fight wasn’t quite happening yet. He was concerned that if he joined them and they didn’t leave Doskvol soon, his parents would find him again. Tired of these questions, Elke barked out an order “Arden. Get in the boat!” [Risky Command, Mixed result]

Arden flashed a fine dueling pistol to show that he was ready for action and moved to get on the boat, but just at that moment there yell from down the docks “Master Keel!” A man who was probably in his late forties but still very fit and still wearing a military haircut, came running down the docks after them.

Chase through the Docks!

Quick on her toes, Jadvyga pulled a silence potion vial form under her garments and tossed it towards the oncoming assailant, hoping to both silence and bewilder the man. Curses to the menagerie and all the hay they leave on the ground! The vial didn’t break, and when the man, Major Crane, saw her throwing something at him he redoubled his efforts shouting for Bluecoats, drawing his own pistol and firing on Jyadvyga. [Risky Finesses. Failure resulting in Harm and a complication]. Arquo saw the man running and drew his own pistol and fired several times to force him off his path.

Jadvyga dropped down into the boat but the bullet winged her shoulder and knocked her out cold. The silence potion eventually did it work, however, or part of it, as it seemed over and blocked the sounds of Crane calling the Bluecoats [2 Harm, 1 resisted by armor, the other resisted by Arquo with Prowess. Complication resisted by Jadvyga which filled up her stress track! Jadvyga too the Trauma: Soft]

Elke wasn’t waiting for him to reload. She ordered Arden to push them off the docks as she fired up the engine and started the get away. Arden, the son of a minister of transport, turned out to be quite handy on the water. The boat however is finicky, and only Harland can handle it just right. The few moments it took to start and the fact that there are bridges and side streets all through the docks meant that Crane was able to give chase on land [Risky Teamwork Finesse. Mixed results. Complication of a chase].

Elke, remembering the canal routes from her fine maps made a sudden course change under a bridge and down a canal that Major Crane couldn’t follow. [Resist with Insight]. As Crane tried to cross the final bridge and leap down onto the boat, Arquo swung an oar at the bridge’s rotten supports and collapsed part of it, causing Crane to be trapped up to his armpits in broken bridge! As the puttered off Crane got his first good look at Arquo and despite the boils Jadvyga had applied to his face recognized him clear as day. He yelled out at the top of his lungs. “Sergeant Llewellyn!” [Risky Wreck. Mixed outcome. Complication of recognition].

Arden’s Deal

After the excitement of the chase subsided, Aqruo turned to Arden and started interrogating him. Arden couldn’t fathom a Grinder in the service of the imperials, but was eventually sated by the notion that Arquo was a defector and apposed the the Emporer as well (only partially true).

After that, Spirit Mask Clad Elke told Arden that not only was he to return to the Grinders but he needed to bring back an Imperial Musket with him (It was Elke herself that took it from him when the rescued him). They suggested buying one in Night Market and knew a man who might be able to supply one for them at the right price. Arden had nothing of value on him…except his father’s fine dueling pistol. After a moment of hesitation he agreed that he’d do it. Nothing could go wrong! [Fortune roll to see Arden’s loyalty to the Girders resulted in a 6!]

What Rocked

I’m really glad we talked in the beginning about the direction for the game and the gang. I think having a health check on your game is always a good idea!

“Harland, it’s in our charter!” I love that Elke was so vehement that she wanted Arquo to join, but he had to do it by the books!

Harland taking on the Path of Echoes (or at least Vond) on his own. Wow, that is going to be crazy. I’m not sure he’s going to survive the encounter!

The little scene with Hix just broke my heart. I was so hoping that she would ingratiate herself to Hutton, but I suppose the man just has too much on his mind. I wonder how she will fare now. Trauma 3!

The heist was great! Send a cryptic letter, dress up as Grinders, dash away on a gondola! This was a Leverage episode!

I love that Aqruo now has a choice. Let Crane follow up and find out that he’s part of the Lampblacks (and thus putting the heat on them) or announce that he’s joined the DSS and face the wrath from the Ministry themselves. Either way, that is super cool!

As an aside I also love that two of the three players had made second characters and that those characters are so instrumental in the gang’s operations. The Doskvol Spectral Society has truly become it’s own entity.

I can’t wait for the negotiations in Night Market. Mordis is so strange, I wonder how it will go.

What could have improved

Could we have a redo on November 8th, 2016 please? Or all of 2016? Despite the game being a good one it was really hard to focus as the night just kept getting worse and worse. The future of our country aside, this was a great game.