The Alas Poor Roric Job Part II

In which the duo tracks down Roric and smuggles his ghost past the Dimmer Sisters, then use downtime to begin to work on Roric’s dilemma and tend to their goat problem in the now quarantined Coalridge.

Link to Twitch Video will be linked here.

Youtube Video will be embedded here.

The Gang

I thought we were going to have a full crew and get on with another job but the Brothers B couldn’t make it, so we were left with Pete and Sean, the players of the original Roric Job. After six weeks away, it was super-satisfying to get back to it and finish this one.

Maude and Skannon have cool links to the spectral arts and compliment each other well. Jobs with 2 characters are hard on those characters and they paid for it in stress.

Maude had a cool moment using Roric to push out the ghost who had been hijacking space in her head previously and then using Quicksilver to hack the Dimmer Sisters’ telepathic network in order to save Skannon when the Sisters cornered him in the ghost realms and held him there, drowning him in the spectral dimension.

Skannon is just cool. Even when he fucks up and even when the dice screw him, I like how Pete is always describing him watching out the door, getting an angle on the stairwell of the tenement or leading the Dimmer Sisters away from the entrance to HQ in an attempt to misdirect them away from Roric’s actual ghost.


Thank goodness the clocks were saved on roll20‘s interface. This is what really allowed us to pick up where we left off six weeks ago as if almost no time went by. The clocks for the Wobeggong Crew finding Roric and then the Dimmer Sisters finding him were the only ones that got ticked off but when the game was over, I decided to leave the Spirit Warden clock in the mix. The Gondoliers and the Railjacks might have moved on but not the Spirit Wardens. I like that, as if somewhere in their labyrinthine HQ a file is stamped with NOT FOUND in red ink with a picture of Roric’s prison headshot peaking out of a file.

Duskwall again

Roric, he’s still in the mix. They didn’t turn him over to Lyssa or the mystery bidder. I picture him played by Giobanni Ribisi and I’m glad he gets to become a more regular NPC, maybe even a patron for the gang. I’ve had conversations with him in my head and I’m eager to get him onto the table.

Zamira, the lady Roric hitched a ride in to get away from the various parties hunting him down – a captain of a canal skiff that sells produce. She’s a nice lady who got thrown into nasty business.

Tackle, the barkeep who is a retired scoundrel. He’s got one hand from back in the day when the City Council decided that taking the hands of thieves was a good law to bring back into fashion and of course he’s got an Iron Hook tattoo. He saw Roric grow up.

Lenia, the former Mistress of Spies, living in a mahjong parlor in Nightmarket’s Little Dagger neighborhood. She’s a Dagger Isles NPC who Pete made up whole cloth and I love her.

The Dimmer Sisters are fleshing out in my head and I adore them. Pairs of young women in black dresses, holding hands, floating a few inches off the ground, levitating across the canals and choking with their minds. Each pair named for an hour on the Doskvol clock.

I liked them so much I had them write a letter to the gang after the game was over and sent it to the players.

The letter arrives by post, addressed to this hotel’s listing back when it was in operation, decades ago, as if you were guests there and not squatters. The stationary has delicate white lace borders. The handwriting looks like a spider danced on the paper to form the letters.

Dear W.C.,
One of your goats has broken from its tether and is devouring the perennials in our neighbor’s garden. The authorities are involved and it is a frightful mess. Please see to it at your earliest convenience.
Congratulations on your most recent professional endeavor. As you well know, our company was in the bidding for that contract but you proved yourselves spiritually savvy in ways we had not anticipated. Bravo, say we. Bravo.
We, along with our entire community, will be watching your handling of the goat situation with keen interest and the highest hopes.
S. Dimmer

Coalridge is under Spirit Warden quarantine and when Maude approached the mine where the Saint of Witches’ son is holding court, it was surrounded by Spirit Wardens, specifically, the Demon-Killers, who are like Spirit Warden Spec-ops.

The Job with text

The job was tense and fast paced. Having other gangs trying to do the job makes it tense and drives things along. I really liked that. The other crews never made an appearance but it was still a good time. Bounty hunting jobs are cool.

There were times when I really thought Skannon and Maude were going to fail this one. It was also the Wobeggong Crew’s first foray into a spectral/arcane job because of the characters at the table.

I loved the choices Sean and Pete made throughout this job and they had some tough ones.

In the end, they decided not to hand Roric over to anyone and he paid them out of secret stashes he had hidden around the city.

The Mechanics in White

I’m getting a feel for when to push for harm, when to complicate things and when to push to a more dire roll. I feel like I’m spreading the different results around based on the context and the fiction in ways that I’m enjoying.



Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Corliss Bevel-Gear-Cutting Machine. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Grand View, City and Canal, Syracuse, N.Y.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1880.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wm. Hawes in front of jewelry store with intricate clock.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Le port aux mouettes.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1886.

Review: Batman #29 & #30

Batman #29

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by Mikel Janin
  • Inks by Mikel Janin & Hugo Petrus
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin

Here’s the pitch: Aldred serves the warring Gotham City villains a 9 course traditional French dinner while Bruce Wayne attempts to broker a peace deal. We see the beginning of Batman’s big mistake. The issue is as much fun as the pitch sounds.

End review.

On to #30!



Batman #30

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by David Gianfelice & Clay Mann & Danny Miki
  • Inks by David Gianfelice & Seth Mann & Danny Miki
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin

It is another Kite-Man interlude and it is heart breaking and fun, giving the reader an inside look at the War of Jokes and Riddles from a foot soldier’s point of view. The scenes are set to dialogue boxes of a conversation between Kite-Man and his son while we see him get punched by Batman, fly with Man-Bat and deal with the up frightening villains on both sides of this gang war. The juxtaposition of the very human moment of a father talking to his son and a C-list Batman villain trying to survive fighting for the Joker is well done.

The Kite-Man Interludes have done for Kite-Man what Heart of Ice did for Mr. Freeze.

It is worth mentioning that page 11 has my favorite Two-Face moment ever.

There War of Jokes and Riddles continues to be a classic that is en route be shelved next to Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween among my favorite Batman arcs ever as I read with baited breath to see it stick the landing.

6 types of vampires

Roll 6d6…


“I hope we get a Video Store Clerk. I love Lost Boys.”

Has the mouth of a…

  1. Lamprey Circle
  2. Mosquito Proboscis (throat sheath)
  3. Endless rows of needle teeth
  4. Bat Fangs
  5. Leech Sucker
  6. Tube with syringe at the end, attached to a scuba helmet

Can turn into a…

  1. Tiger
  2. Black Rhino
  3. Possum (carries young on its back!)
  4. Night Monkey
  5. Tasmanian Devil
  6. Hyena


Commands a horde of…

  1. Opossums
  2. Fireflies
  3. Tarantulas
  4. Cockroaches
  5. Badgers
  6. Monkeys

Need more nocturnal animals?


Walks around looking like a…

  1. Crusader turned Victorian fearful idea of a foreign predator
  2. Sewer Hermit
  3. Rock Star
  4. Scared Teen
  5. Video Store Owner
  6. Gang Leader


Feeds on…

  1. Fluids
  2. Dreams
  3. Emotions
  4. Tears
  5. Money
  6. Magic


Believes someone in your party is…

  1. Their reincarnated dead spouse
  2. A fine choice to be mother-figure to their spawn
  3. A narcissistic asshole
  4. A good person worth trusting
  5. Tastier than anyone else
  6. Infected with vampirism that hasn’t blossomed fully yet (true!)



Which myths are true?

Add up the result of your 6d6. All myths below the result are true.

6-11. – None are true, all bullshit. Make some up based on results.

12-17 – or more – Sun hurts them.

18-23 – or more – Holy symbols vex them.

24 -29 – or more – Holy water burns like alien blood.

30 -35 – or more – Can’t cross running water.

36 – All true and then some. Make a few more up based on results.


The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Cowboys Shooting Craps” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1898 – 1931.
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Insects And Insect Parts.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1856 – 1858.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Tete de tigre” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1888.
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Female Musquito — Natural Size And Magnified ; Culex Pipiens — Head Of Male.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1858.
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Petromizon marinus, The Lamprey.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1785 – 1797.
Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, The New York Public Library. “Bride and groom facing frowning man with staff; men, woman and child watching something in the distance” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Indented Javelin Bat ; Vampire & Javelin Bat ; Trefoil Leaf Bat ; Three-Toothed Horseshoe Bat ; The Rear-Mouse Bat.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections


The Alas Poor Roric Job, Part I

In which a child of the Goat Matron is unleashed on Coalridge, the Hive’s link into the Lampblack/Red Sashes War is delved into and Rorick’s Ghost is hunted through the under-canals and back-alleys of Crow’s Foot.

Link to Twitch Video

[Youtube Video will be embedded here]

The Gang

It was Maude and Skannon this time around. It is interesting to see what kind of jobs interest different combinations of scoundrels, based on their skills and inclinations.

Skannon used his downtime to heal up after getting stabbed in the Upper Deck Job and he did some spying on the Hive. He saw them loan mercs to the Lampblacks, evening out the war. It was as if the Hive want the war to go on longer. He caught site of a mysterious Dagger Island woman with a bad-ass platoon of Hive Mercenaries as her personal bodyguards.

Maude used her downtime to also heal up as she was still ghost-touched, also from the same previous job. She also took a new vice, as her obligations vice wasn’t finding traction in play. Another big deal, her Attune went to 3 in the midst of dealing with the Dimmer Sisters. I liked how Sean described it, with Maude realizing that there was more to this ghost-stuff than simply binding and banishing.

Downtime actions were limited because the Wobbegong Crew is at war with the Red Sashes after stealing turf from them.


Maude made good headway into her clock about becoming the High Priestess of the Saint of Witches.

The job started with a few clocks in action but I’ll go into that below.

Duskwall again

Roric, he’s in the book and I’ve got ideas about him. John did a neat job setting up a cool web around Roric and his death. I’m excited that they are hunting down his ghost. In a way he’s the keystone to the starting situation. He was the one who kept the peace between the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes before Lyssa, his second-in-command stabbed him in the back and threw his body into the canal.

Bricks, the barber who healed up Skannon, who works under a Hive-owned brothel.

Noggs the Knife, an old ghost from under the Upper Deck, killed in a gang war 60 years ago.

Pigsfoot, the old name of Crow’s Foot, back back from the Crows were the ruling gang.

Thirsty Ghost, an old pub in Crow’s foot where Roric had a cache of weapons and clothes.

Flint, Maude’s friend, a spirit trafficker. I’m not sure why I described him as the caretaker of an alley filled with forgotten gods’ altars but I did and it has stuck. He was with Maude when she failed a succession of rolls that led to her accidentally summoning one of the Ghost Matron’s children in a church to the Forgotten Gods in Coalridge. He dragged her out of there once the demon-goat-thing made its way out of the bleeding walls.

The Job with text

We exchange e-mails between games. I mentioned that in the Upper Deck job they had taken the leader of the Red Sashes, Mylera Klev’s little brother and now she wants to make a deal for peace or his return or something. We were thinking that tonight was going to be the Hostage Job but that didn’t pan out with only two players at the table.

Several Lampblacks have refused to leave the little brother’s side, not wanting their gang to lose their space in that leverage.

Since Pete and Sean were going to be at the game, Sean suggested an occult job and I suggested Roric’s ghost had a bounty on it – one bounty by Lyssa and another bounty by a mystery bidder who was doubling the coin offered by Lyssa.

Skannon said, “It must be Roric’s lover…who else would be motivated to pay so much?” I did my best to keep a poker face when Pete said that.

They hunted Roric’s ghost down through Crow’s Foot while the Dimmer Sisters, the Gondoliers and some moonlighting Railjacks all hunted too. I set up a clock for each of them. Sean suggested that their clocks be less than the Wobbegong clock, since they were all higher tier gangs. Those kinds of mechanical suggestions are invaluable. The crew had an 8-part clock and the rest of the rival ghost-hunters had 6-part clocks.

Maude and Skannon left Maude’s new ghost friend, Noggs, to be eaten by a pair of Dimmer Sisters to get away from a conflict with them, a pair of young ladies in widow’s garb and black veils, floating a few feet off the ground. Maude could see that they weren’t possessed by a single ghost, but were a pair of women in a network of women, run by a council of ghosts in a complicated web.

To find Roric’s trail when it had run cold, Maude hacked the network, a Desperate roll. It was cool have that be a success and show a bit behind the scenes of the Dimmer Sisters’ operations.

We ended there, with Skannon leading them through back alleys to where Rorick, possessing an old woman, had picked up a brace of pistols and a cloak.

To be continued in a few weeks. I have family obligations next week.

The Mechanics in White

I was happy to be rolling on a more chill entanglements table this week. The Bluecoats took Kyle in and questioned him, adding +1 Heat because they saw through a lie he told.

I felt like I was asking for better die rolls this week. In the last job I made a bunch of mistakes, having people roll dice like to-hit rolls, which led to unsatisfying results. The clocks were set up well for this job but the job was also just more dynamic. Hunting a ghost through the streets while other arcane powers strive to get there first is pretty cool. The fiction being flavorful led to an easier time setting up consequences.

This is the first job we’ve stopped mid-game. It felt like an easy stop-point. I remember right where they were, tracking the body Roric has possessed while the Dimmer Sisters close on in.


Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Corliss Bevel-Gear-Cutting Machine. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Grand View, City and Canal, Syracuse, N.Y.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1880.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wm. Hawes in front of jewelry store with intricate clock.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Le port aux mouettes.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1886.

Doskvol Slang

wanted poster

Here are a few of my favorite bits of scoundrel’s slang from Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, Revised and Corrected and The Slang Dictionary (grabbed those titles from this blog post):

Admiral of the Narrows Seas, person who from drunkenness vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite them.

Anchor, to bring your ass to anchor, to sit down, to keep within the letter of the law.

Arch Rogue, Dimber Damber, Upright Man: Leader of a group of scoundrels.

Bachelor’s Son, a bastard

Bad Bargain, one of his majesty’s bad bargains; a worthless soldier

Ballast, money. A rich man is said to be well-ballasted. If not proud and over-bearing he is said to carry his ballast well.

Bang-up, first-rate, in the best possible style.

Bankruptcy List, a list that signifies, in pugilism, that one is completely finished.

Bellyful, a beating

Blunderbuss, a short gun with a wide bore, a stupid blundering fellow.

Catch Fart, servants so called from such servants commonly following close behind their master or mistress

City College, scoundrels’ nickname for Ironhook Prison

Cold cook, an undertaker. Cold cook’s shop, the crematorium

Cold meat, a corpse. Cold-meat box, a coffin

Cow Handed, Awkward

Crib, A house To crack a crib, to break open a house

Dab or dabster, an expert person. Most probably derived from the Latin adeptus

Distressed, in boxing when a man is distressed he is out

Do it away, to fence or dispose of a stolen article beyond the reach of probable detection

Floor, to knock down.—Pugilistic

Floorer, a blow sufficiently strong to knock a man down, or bring him to the floor. Often used in reference to sudden and unpleasant news

Ghost, “the ghost doesn’t walk,” a theatrical term which implies that there is no money about, and that there will be no “treasury”

Jack in an Office, an insolent fellow in authority

Land-shark, a sailor’s definition of a lawyer

Larrup, to beat or thrash

Larruping, a good beating or hiding

Lay down the knife and fork, to die. Compare pegging-out, hopping the twig, and similar flippancies

Lumber House, a house appropriated by scoundrels for the reception of their stolen property

My Uncle, a pawnbroker Cant

Nose, a thief who turns informer; a paid spy; generally called a policeman’s nose; “on the nose,” on the look-out

Nose, to give information to the police, to turn approver

Nose-ender, a straight blow delivered full on the nasal promontory

Number of his mess, when a man dies in the army or navy, he is said to “lose the number of his mess”

Rhino, ready money — Old
“Some as I know, Have parted with their ready rino.” – The Seaman’s Adieu, Old Ballad

Rhinoceral, rich, wealthy, abounding in rhino. At first sound it would seem as though it meant a man abounding in rhinoceroses

Scapegallows, one who deserves and has narrowly escaped the gallows a slip gibbet one for whom the gallows is said to groan

Scoundrel’s Grind, the relentless pressure in a scoundrel’s life

Snappers, pistols

Thumper, a magnificently constructed lie, a lie about which there is no stint of imaginative power

Thumping, large, fine, or strong

Togs, clothes; “Sunday togs,” best clothes

Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas, a drunken man that pisses under the table into his companion’s shoes

Water of Life, gin


Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “James Keiley, convicted for complicity with Sergt. McCarthy ; Thomas Chambers, convicted for desertion, see page 18 ; Michael Harrington ; Robert Cranston.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1866.

Batman #28 Review

It is another fine issue in the War of Jokes and Riddles. The issue has 3 main parts: Gordon trying to end the war by talking to both sides, Battle of the Snipers – Deathstroke vs Deadshot and a bit with Catwoman during this mess. The Kite-Man interlude  is over though he clearly has a role to play. We’re back to Bruce telling Selina the war story as the narrative device.

  • Written by Tom King
  • Pencils by Mikel Janin
  • Inks by Mikel Janin
  • Colored by June Chung
  • Cover by Mikel Janin


Not an issue goes by without a reminder that this arc is building on top of Frank Miller. This issue was a line referencing a memorable panel from Batman: Year One:

But these were the best mercenaries in the world.

And I was a year away from kicking a tree.

Batman is vulnerable. His costume is different in the flashbacks, more simple year one style different from than the modern DC look with the lines and the yellow outline around the chest bat icon. In stopping Deathstroke and Deadshot he gives Deadshot a concussion that nearly kills him (NOTE: that touch made me smile because I was just talking to friends at a party about how brutal someone of Batman’s size, strength and training dealing out head trauma would be).

I love that Batman’s inexperience is shown by having to use too much force to stop the violence. Once again, the textual spotlight isn’t on the cool Deathstroke vs. Deadshot matchup but the bystanders killed in the crossfire and the excess of violence deployed to end it. That said, these mercs facing off was still cool and got some amazing panels.

Janin’s clean lines really shine here, both in showing off the action scenes and the innocent bystanders trying to get away from the war. His one and two-page spreads are amazing every issue, especially the scenes where we get to see the Joker and Riddler’s gangs all together.

I’m curious to see what mistakes Batman will make and what lessons will we see him take into future arcs. Will this arc take us into the present with Batman and Selina fighting crime together while the story is finished? I’m intrigued and I’m in, feeling like I’m reading the best Batman arc that I can remember.

Re-thinking the Upper Deck Job

The Job with text

The players set up the Upper Deck Job, taking turf from the Red Sashes with Lampblack muscle helping them, as a stealth job. They surveyed and saw that this was a lightly guarded drug den that had half the guards since the war began. The players defined their point of entry, started to talk about planning the mission and I asked for an engagement roll and get things started. I should have asked a few more questions, gotten an idea of what exactly they wanted to do, maybe even drawn up an ugly map and drawn in a few arrows and X’s.

They got a mixed result and I essentially turned their stealth mission into an assault mission with one mixed result. I should’ve set up a 6-count clock with several ticks in it and let the tension of the sneaking vs. the guards finding out they were on board ramp up.

When the players ask for a certain type of job, they are asking for a certain type of tension. They want to see their characters be a certain kind of cool. I’m totally open to a stealth job becoming a total mess and turning into an assault…or an assault forcing the crew into hiding and becoming a stealth job or deception as they ditch their own clothes and put on a bluecoats’ uniform. The engagement roll is not there to decide on success or failure but to set a level of starting tension and danger. It shouldn’t throw the entire mission immediately into disarray with one mediocre roll. I’m going to think of the engagement roll as setting the music playing in the opening scene of the job.

My bad, a mistake on my third engagement roll ever but I’ll keep an eye on that for next time.

Discussion on G+