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.
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.
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.
The Blue Coats hunt down Skannon
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.
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 HEATAlso, 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!