The Wobbegong Crew and the Prison Barge Job

The Gang

The Wobbegong Crew is a group of veterans from the Unity War who have turned to crime. Named after a breed of shark that settles on the bottom of Duskwall’s canals and hides in the mud while stalking its prey.

Charming, played by Jay – a former marine with an eye for fashion (why are all Cutter’s dandies?), the gang’s Cutter

Skannon, played by Pete – former Leviathan ship captain – ran cargo during the war, known as The Crow, last son of a fallen noble house of Walund, the gang’s Lurk

Willoughby, played by Rob – former Imperial spy during the war, the gang’s Slide

They’ve also got an engineer named Kyle, who keeps their boat running. Kyle lost an army during the war in an explosion during a naval battle.

The Mechanics in White I didn’t expect this game to be as mechanically robust as it turned out to be. It didn’t dawn on me until I was looking up rules and thinking about  how one locks into another and cycles of Stress, Vice and XP… It is intense.

I wanted to make sure I GMed so that we weren’t just talking about playing but spending some time in the character’s shoes. Blades is an engine designed to start a conversation about play, getting everyone ready for that fiction first style of game and I love it. I think the danger for me is that I want to make sure I use solid techniques so that we aren’t just getting the fiction right but getting into our character’s skins and free playing. Free Play is part of the cycle mentioned in the book but one has to use the techniques in GM Best Practices and use them well to get there.

It wasn’t perfect in this first session. When I’m running a game that is dense, we have to step back and figure out the mechanics. It will get better as we go on and it was still a fun game. In baseball terms, it was a solid double, which is a fine hit for a first session.

The density comes with lots of tools and inspiration. The character sheets have a rival and an ally. The structure comes with all of these elements that will be putting pressure on the players, causing friction and fun.

Next week we’ll sort out XP and then go through Downtime. I’m hoping to get through a Job every time we get together. We’ll see how realistic that is.

clock

Clocks are interesting tech. I’m still wrapping my head around how to best use them. When they got aboard the boat I had a clock for someone sounding the alarm. It created some sense of foreboding but I wonder if I should have had a clock for the players gaining control of the boat…not sure. Would that have made them less likely to explore the boat a bit? I started a clock for arriving at the Ironhook Prison that was too little too late.

Only one lasting clock was created this game. I made a clock for Skannon as part of a Devil’s Bargain for a roll in which he stepped out of the shadows and grabbed a pistol in each hand off of a table while some Bluecoat guards were playing cards. “Yeah, you do it but they remember you…” This clock’s creation get’s interesting and complicated later when every Bluecoat who saw Skannon ends up dead.

Cog 4 The Blue Coats hunt down Skannon 

The Job with text

I rolled on the Opportunity tables but nothing really spoke to me, so I made up some fast on-the-spot jobs. They had a choice between

  • Stealing some prisoners being moved from the Deadlands to the Ironhook Prison by the Bluecoats on a City Watch Prison Barge for their allies, the Billhooks (but still a paying gig).
  • Stealing whiskey out of a warehouse from a merchant who recently stopped paying protection to anyone, making him an easy target.
  • Stealing arms from a boat being held outside the bay for inspect – a good haul as a gang war between the Red Sashes and the Lampblacks heats up.

They chose the prison barge.

I didn’t save the map I drew, which vexes me but basically, they wanted to stealth onto the ship, even though Charming wanted to drop flaming oil into the canal and assault the City Watch’s Prison Barge – cooler heads prevailed.

I drew a crossroads in the canal system, putting a war memorial on one side, a manicured walking path on the Brightstone corner, a shanty town on the Dock’s corner and a construction crane on another. They lowered themselves onto the boat via the crane and we were off to the races with a solid first roll to set them up in a Risky but not Desperate starting situation.

We played on Google Hangouts and so I shared my screen and used my Surface Pro’s pen. It made making a game map easy and satisfying.

In the end, they grabbed the Billhooks and Kross Pritchard, who claimed to be an agent of The Hive. They also grabbed a crate of artifacts taken out of the Badlands.

Skannon and Willoughby marched their 3 Bluecoat guards through the ship to the engine room and shot them in front of the engine room workers, telling them to run. And run they did. They also made a solid Command roll to get the rest of the Blue Coats to run, all but one. NOTE: Willoughby sent up her command with a Skovlander accent…rumors of Skov terrorists being behind this job have hit the street.

But wait, I had already written down a clock for Skannon about the Bluecoats hunting him down. How can they do that when everyone who saw him was shot dead outside the engine room? We’re in a fantasy world with ghosts and people who talk to ghosts. I’m not too worried. The clock makes sense.

Charming went up to deal with the remaining guards and Holtz was all that was left (oddly, Holtz is also the name of Skannon’s father…odd coincidence is all). Charming tried to recruit him and rolled a 5.

“I’ll join ya but only if you can whup me.”

So, Charming whupped him. Holtz threw his jacket and club into the canal and now they have some muscle.

The job was solid. They spent some Stress in order to push themselves and get an extra die and helping one another. No Trauma was acquired.

Post-Game E-mail

boat.png

The artifacts and Kross Pritchard, an agent representing The Hive are beyond the JOB. We can talk about what you want to do with them next game when we do DOWNTIME. Anything you make from those things will be separate.
For this JOB, you get 4 COIN.
You also get 2 HEAT + 1 HEAT for a High Profile Target another +2 HEAT for Killing.
Total: 5 HEAT
Also, I realize that Ironhook Prison is its own FACTION, so I’m going to say that this operation that you interrupted was the Bluecoats working a job for the Ironhook Prison.
Skannon has a CLOCK from a DEVIL’s BARGAIN because the Bluecoats have a beef with him now and are super-pissed. How do they know? Good question.
Holtz is now a member of your gang. He’s played by Russell Crowe.
That was fun! Thanks for playing!

Art

Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/90707285/>;.
The Corliss Bevel-Gear-Cutting Machine. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2004678678/>;.
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. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-69ca-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
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. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-5eee-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
 The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The transportation problem. The Baxter boat “City of New York,” the fastest steamer tried on the Erie Canal” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1825. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7e54-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 6

archer-and-hawk

MP3

After Session Thoughts

I was hoping for some time to let the Range & Cover mechanics breath a bit, have some arrows and fireballs flying around the back-alleys of Greyhawk but the dice decided and death was swift.

Accererak is in the mix! I was excited when I heard that the Tomb of Horror‘s demi-lich was back in action in Tomb of Annihilation. This episode pre-dated that announcement by a few weeks.

Thanks again, Rich for the wonderful editing and playing.

What is Comic Strip AP?

Comic Strip AP started as a short, 10-15 minute actual play of Dungeon World at the end of every episode of Discern Realities. It is like sprint training for GM’s, really making me think about how I manage a 15 minute time range.

I wouldn’t want to play every game like this but it is a fun weekly exercise.

If you like this, you might like the Sorcerer game Rich and I played, where demons are buildings in New York City.

20151025_215411

 

Art

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Buteo Cooperii, California Hawk.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1860. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-5741-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Franc-archer, archer de la garde : 1460.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1910. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-4971-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

2 Amazing Quotes from Office Hours 52

Office Hours is Adam Keobel’s call-in show (go record your own question here!) and in this past episode he really hit his stride. Below is the episode and the quotes I tweeted this weekend while watching the show but wanted to put them together in a blog post because for some reason, that feels more permanent or something. *shrug*

bottoms from the top
“A good GM bottoms from the top. Look it up…unless you’re 12, then please…don’t.”
Tweet link

rev irrev quote
“A good player walks the line between treating the game with reverence and irreverence as is appropriate for the game, table and situation.”
Tweet link

Pamphlets in Doskvol

A mushroom-paper pamphlet might get handed to the scoundrels while they are on their way to their job, on their way to indulge in their vice or be stuffed into the wounds by their gang so they won’t bleed out on the street.

Whispernomicon: a street guide to spirits
a guide to ghosts published by a loose confederacy of whispers, edited and published by Mama Jane.

Not Dead But Dreaming
a religious pamphlet about the monstrous sleeping entity waiting to eat our reality

Duskwall for Akorosian
a racist screen with anti-refugee conspiracy theories and charicature cartoons made to instill fear

Jack Journal
a labor newsletter led by the rail jacks but beginning to gather news relevant to many workers throughout the city

Strangford Sins, in which the gentle reader will better understand the monster sitting on the City Council seat and sucking on Duskwall like a tick in a goat hoof
a political pamphlet put out in order to prepare the public for the fall of the Strangford family.


Please add your own pamphlets with a short description in the comments

More pamphlets over on G+ discussion in the Blades in the Dark Community


Art:

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Men and printing press, Brattleboro, Vt.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-b6d2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99


Daydreaming in Duskovol

Daydreaming in Duskovol

 

Rainy day in the Dusk

Call me old fashioned but nothing quite captures the soul of a muddy Duskwall street like an artist with a charcoal pencil.


smoke on the docks

Here are a few pictures from the ghost-made chap-book, Drowned Dreams on the Docks.

smoke and sails on the bay


Hunter

The feared Silkshore Baroness was said to have posed for this portrait just before the Fogcrest Massacre, in which she ambushed over a dozen members of the City Watch and blue coats ran red.


Demon Decimates a Gang

Demon decimates a gang. The gang’s name was forgotten – perhaps just because their scores were meager or perhaps the demon ate all memories of their exploits.


funeral

 

Funeral procession, somberly taking the dead to the crematorium.


duelling pistols

When the posh of Brightstone decide to murder one another in a gentlemanly duel, only the finest engraved pistols will do.


Lord Governor

These painted portraits of the Lord Governor of Doskovol, Red Fist of the Emperor, Brigadier General, North Hook Brigade are often put in the windows by his officers to show their allegiance. Sometimes they hand them out to their allies.


camera

Tapestrechromestat images (tapes for short) are all the rage nowadays. Here are several that capture images from all walks of Duskwaller life using technology at the height of modern accomplishment.


Dockworkers exume ancient altars

Here is a tape torn from the pages of Ancient Religions and Halcyon Witchcraft Journal capturing an image of laborers by the docks excavating the site of the old Collajin Warehouses. They exhumed a series of altars that scholars have not yet successfully dated but seems to have been buried there since before the city’s founding.


Whitehall

A photoist captured the College of Imperial Science’s main administration building.


leviathan ship

Abandoned antique leviathan ship, now said to be a scoundrel hangout of a gang that worships a cthonic leviathan saint.


warehouse

The murky pools outside of the Levshtyan Dye Factory.

Unfortunately, the tapestrechromestat device used here does not capture the full range of colors, so you cannot see the chromatic beauty of the sludge. Children in the neighborhood call it the Rainbow Pit and play zesty games of physical culture against one another in its shallow waters.


view of docks

View of the docks from the City Watch Tower.


spirit warden

A rare image from the hallowed halls of the Spirit Wardens. Here a warden has been lovingly placed in a plasm-blanket, being treated for a rare disease called vampirism, contracted on the job. We hope you are better soon, good sir! Duskwall thanks you for your service!


bluecoat precinct

The Charhollow Precinct Fort, an imposing piece of architecture that inspires law and order among the working folk of this scrappy district.


station

The east end of Gaddoc Station.


Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Le retour des artistes.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1877. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4294-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “L’Embarcadère à Trouville.”The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1877. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4297-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
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. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-4263-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Lucile Grahn-Young (facs. sig.) als Catharina in dem Ballet Die Tochter des Banditen.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1848. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-7084-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Disparate de miedo.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1815. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-8e35-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Convoi funèbre au Boulevard de Clichy.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1887. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-411e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Pistols, engraved and inlaid with Damascene work, by Zuloaga of Madrid.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1851 – 1853. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-8fec-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “General” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1910. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-9265-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. “The camera.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-4730-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Workers at the canal locks, Keokuk, Iowa.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1870. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-61c6-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “City hall.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-8009-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Whale ship hove down for repairs, New Bedford, Mass.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-7776-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Factory.”The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-7896-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “View N.W. from from N.Y. Bridge Tower.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1870. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1abc-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Field Building, New York.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1885. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-2042-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Patient in a hot head pillow.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1861 – 1872. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dd-e7ad-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Lowell and Eastern railroad station.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-8a97-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Artifact: The Blades in the Dark

The first knife-fight in Duskovol took place not long after it was founded. Scoundrel legends say it was a fight over turf and money between a sailor and a coal miner. Both died of their wounds, walked away with their gangs, covered in blood and died later of internal injuries. The knives are named Jake and Harp but no two districts’ criminals can agree what that means – old slang? names of the cutters who died? arcane reference to demonic powers?

What do the knives really look like? Some accounts depict them as solid pieces of black metal and others depict them as an antique nomad dagger and a rigging knife.

knife fight

Here’s what just about everyone agrees on:

When in the presence of violence, the daggers begin to heat up and sometimes give off sparks. The wielder feels the heat and the pain but it will not debilitate them as long as they continue fighting. They have appeared 4 times in Duskwall’s history, always during times of unrest and violence. Each time, blade-chosen cutters on different sides of the conflict killed one another with the knives and then the cursed blades always disappeared, spirited away by cultists who see the knives as holy relics.

There is a myth that the Dusker who wields both blades will cut Duskwall from the grip of the Empire. Imperial agents often investigate rumors of the daggers appearing, thinking that they are a sign of unrest or a symbol of rebellion conjured by con-men and a riotous rebel cult.

So, scoundrel, you’ve found one of the Blades in the Dark, the first  is a mission clock if you go looking for the other dagger, wanting to become a symbol of bloody rebellion, the other clocks start ticking off with or without you…

Find the other dagger before your most hated enemy

Cog 4


Imperial Agents track you down

cog-6

 


Monks from a mysterious blade cult pay you a visit

cog-6


Duskwall descends into bloody war

cog-8


 

Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 5

Burning Greyhawk, Comic Strip AP, Episode 5

gloam circle

Episode 5

MP3

greyhawk-castle-border

Threads

Reading about Greyhawk in old school forums is kind of like reading about a religion with many different sects. I have found it fascinating and often inspiring.

Dragonsfoot: Talk to me about Gloams

In the Gord the Rogue books, specifically in City of Hawks, Gord travels to the Shadowplane and encounters evil beings known as “gloams”. The leader of these monsters, called Imprimus, is referred to as a vampire lich.

Does anyone know anything more definitive about Gloams and specifically Imprimus, such as a monster description and/or stats?

Dragonsfoot: About Vecna

Vecna’s not from Greyhawk.

Reddit: Greyhawk synopsis from the upcoming Tales of the Yawning Portal

Greyhawk, the pinnacle of D&D settings, is reduced to a few blurbs here and there in WotC’s new supplements.

Sad state of affairs, really.

greyhawk-castle-border

NPC’s

Mavis, Tanday the Gloam-walker’s apprentice

Harkhim, Tanday the Gloam-walker’s lost apprentice

greyhawk-castle-border

Art

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Diagram of an eclipse of the sun, with the moon casting a shadow cone.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1260. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e574-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
British Library. “Castles and their Heroes…With Illustrations, etc” British Library Flickr. 1891. https://flic.kr/p/hWA5wk