Gang Wars now and Gang Wars to come for the Wobbegong Crew

In which the Wobbegong Crew pay to avoid prison, learn that the Red Sashes snitched, witness the beginning of a serious rift in the Billhooks and take Red Sash turf for their own.

[Youtube video will be embedded here.]

Episode 5 on Twitch 

The Gang

Charming: He was separated from the rest of the crew for most of the job and managed not to kill anyone. In his downtime, he did some healing and some stress relief with his buddy, Sawtooth.

Skannon: Our stealthy scoundrel took a beating this game, getting a 2nd trauma, Haunted, after he ghost cloak’d his way through the floor to avoid an irate Red Sash and nearly destroyed the ghost ward in the lower decks.

The dice were not kind to Pete tonight but Skannon was still awesome.

Maude: She led the charge into the Pig Pit during downtime. She started and completed a short clock to ally with the Lampblacks and hit a big crit to notice a big rift between Erin and Coran, putting together that Erin’s lover is the leader of the Red Sashes. Good stuff.

Another big moment was using a ghost to take out a flare meant to alert the Red Sashes and summon a war crew. Muade had a helluva night.

Duskwall again

The Billhooks: Tension in the Billhooks gang is written in but today we learned a bunch about how that is shaking out. The group tripped over the tensions between Erin and Coran, both vying for control as the gang while Coran’s father/Erin’s brother serves time in Ironhook Prison.

Black Dust Pub: We met Edlun again in Duskwall’s version of a cop bar in Coalridge. This time the gang met with him to lower their heat. Edlun gave a good speech to a rookie about how the Bluecoats are just another gang. “Our job isn’t justice; our job is peace.”

I like Edlun more and more.

Morlan: One of the Billhooks saved by the Wobbegong’s in their first job. He accompanied them into the Black Dust Pub as a go-between.

The Upper Deck: This is the drug den the Red Sashes owned, taken by the Wobbegong with Lampblack help. It is a scuttled ship on the docks whose lower decks are flooded. There are buildings built on top of the ship.

The 5 Faces of the Moon: A Brightstone drug den with fine hash and dreamsmoke.

The Leaky Bucket: This is where the gang planned the job with the Lampblacks. Sean mentioned it and it worked. Is it in the book? Not sure.

clock

I started the job with a 4 part clock for the guards surrendering and that was a poor judgment. I changed it to a 6 part clock, making the job less easy (but still not that bad).

cog-6

The Billhooks Civil War

Oh, it is coming and it will be bloody.

cog-6

Upper Deck’s Ghosts Come for Skannon

This was part of a Devil’s Bargain. I’m feeling odd about these because I haven’t seen one of these clocks go off yet but I know the players are watching them and they are exerting pressure in some way. I might have to make these somehow more urgent or worded better. I’ll keep an eye out.

The Job with text

The Entanglement Roll that started the gang was rolled with 0 dice. That means I roll 2d6 and take the lower. Once again I rolled double 6’s, a result that calls for someone in the crew to go to jail. They paid Edlun coin to keep their crew out of prison and tossed in an extra coin to find out who snitched.

It was the Red Sashes.

The job was born. Good job, entanglement. I rolled to see how the war between the Lampblack and the Red Sashes was going. The Red Sashes rolled 6 and the Lampblacks rolled a 2. It wasn’t looking good for the Lampblacks; they were taking a beating and had taken heavy losses. The Lampblacks were ready for an ally.

I described the Upper Deck to the group and they were into taking it. 2 guards at the gang-plank and 3 more on the old, beat-up, grounded ship.

They decided they would stealth across the water onto the ship while Charming dealt with the gang-plank bouncers. Dice hit the table and things got complicated. Skannon took trauma and everyone took stress. It was a rough job and it could have been much, much more rough if Maude hadn’t nullified the S.O.S. flare, if Charming hadn’t beaten down the last door, if Skannnon hadn’t weaved the ward back together.

It was good stuff, solid teamwork. Now the team has a drug den on the docks, a grounded schooner that is also haunted – as it was used as a meat locker for enemies by a long dead gang. That is a juicy piece of turf, a nice new part of the Wobbegong mythology.

EDIT: Re-thinking the Upper Deck Job is a blog post in which I think about this job and how I would’ve done the engagement roll differently if I could go back.

The Mechanics in White

The Scoundrel’s Grind is in effect and the players are feeling it. They were careful to grab turf without killing anyone.

I need to make an Action Roll cheat sheet for myself, just something fast and easy to get an idea of what kind of consequences I can offer for the various types of failures and consequences for success-with-a-price results.

Having a rule mentor at the table is a tremendous help. I had Jim and Aaron when I was playing Burning Wheel and Sean is invaluable for getting all of the moving pieces that make up Blades in the Dark.

Discussion on G+


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. “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: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wm. Hawes in front of jewelry store with intricate clock.” The New York Public Library Digital Collectionshttp://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-69ca-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
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Camera notes”The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1901-10-01. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a9185640-2289-0132-f854-58d385a7bbd0
Advertisements

Adaptation Beyond the Lightning Barrier: Wolves

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47da-783a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

When humans communicate and bind post-life entities they speak in what sounds like hushed tones in order to reach those sub-vocal ranges. Wolves have adapted to post-life plasmic predators by utilizing their howl. A pack will spread out in the area around the entity. The wolves will then howl to not only communicate with their pack-mates but begin changing the frequency of the howl to bind the entity to the pack’s will.

When the howling’s purpose changes one can hear as the sound quality becomes something that can cause vibrations in plasmic energy sources. Spirit Wardens attempted to breed wolves with hunting hounds, hoping to utilize this method but the experiment was a failure. Why this breeding program failed has been hotly debated but it could have something to do with the wide territory needed for a pack to successfully hunt or it could be something else about the physical changes that come with domesticity that biological sciences do not yet comprehend.

nypl-digitalcollections-510d47da-7844-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99-001-w.jpg

Having a plasmic post-life entity howl-bound to their will changes the pack dramatically. 3 of 4 such packs turn cannibal. Often, a member of the pack’s fur will turn white. In every case, the howl-binders will become more aggressive, taking down healthy armed humans with shocking regularity. In the period of about a month, the plasm will become used up and the pack will hunt down and bind another.

Humans who have been bitten by such packs and survive often get a disease that, at risk of sounding like a dime novel, we will call lycanthropy. Once inflicted with lycanthropy, the victim’s voice begins to vibrate plasmic energies, causing them to be misunderstood by their peers. If the disease is left untreated, the diseased will enter a quasi-living state, hovering between flesh and plasmic entities. Eventually, the patient will cease to be a living human taking on both plasmic and wolf-like qualities, becoming a new species, lupus plasmid.

Discussion on G+


Art

Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Canis lupus, White American Wolf. Male. 1/3 Natural size.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1845 – 1848. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-783a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library. “Canis lupus, Red Texan Wolf. (Male.)” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1845 – 1848. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-7844-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

 

 

Downtime w/Heat and the Benthic Zone Job

In which Skannon serves tough time for the gang in Ironhook, Charming get’s stitched up and Maude digs in the arcane muck for dirt on Mr. Pritchard. We had time for the gang to go on a good old fashioned smuggling job for the Billhooks – The Benthic Zone Job.

Twitch Video Part 1

Twitch Video Part 2

The Gang

Skannon/The Crow: Crow went to jail, served 3 weeks. The dice told us it was a tough 3 weeks and Skannon came away with a new trauma, Cold. He also came out with an iron hook tattoo on his left forearm.

Having incarceration as part of the game is interesting. When Pete rolled poorly, it made for an interesting moment. I didn’t want to narrate a difficult time in prison. When he was dropped off to the Bluecoats by the friendly sergeant (mentioned below) when Edlun walked away I said, “He is the last friendly face you see for 3 weeks…”

The only in-prison scenes we saw were his meeting with Torvul to pitch the smuggling job and the tattoo artist who offered to put an Ironhook tattoo on him to commemorate his time. “You can put the tattoo anywhere you want…you’ve had a rough time of it. Where do you want your iron hook if ya want one?”

I was listening to the video and besides realizing that I need to set up my mic and stop saying, “Um/Uh,” so much I also loved how much the crew showed emotional support for Skannon when he returned from a tough 3 weeks in prison. It helped give the decision real weight. Suddenly, it meant something.

Charming: Our Cutter got stitched up and managed not to kill anyone. He tried to bark down a Bluecoat captain but the dice weren’t with him and the Blackjack, the crew’s trusty boat, got a hole punched in its hull. It was a chill night for the Wobeggong’s Cutter, who still has level 2 harm, Stitched Up Bullet-wounds.

Maude: She did some work on becoming the Goat Matron’s high priestess and tried to dig up some dirt on their handler with the Hive, Mr. Pritchard.

Maude grabbed a body pff the docks from the Fog Hound job and carved it up on the altar, giving her a vision from the Saint of Witches in which she was in an office on the top-side levels of the hotel watching Hive warehouses used to traffick in Skovlander children were burning. Mr. Pritchard was nearby, his cigarette fell out of his mouth into a nearby puddle. Behind them were local Brightstone socialites with goat masks and daggers.

Sean also inserted into the fiction that the Saint of Witches, the Goat Matron will be angry about the human trafficking, her being a mother and all. Nicely done.

Duskwall again

Tarvul: The leader of the Billhooks is in jail and he had a scene with Skannon when he was incarcerated, offering a smuggling job to be delivered to his son. Played by the love child of Liam Neeson and Brian Blessed but old. /inside joke

The Pirate’s Cove: A ghost infested haven from waves and storms, surrounded by hungry ghosts. Sean pointed out that they know now that a crew of Bluecoats are under the water there and could be grabbed later to be dug up against the Hive if need be.

The Blue Gull: The ship that dropped a shipment of pistols and powder to the crew.

Edlun: The Bluecoat sergeant who went in to the gang’s HQ and asked them to hand over someone to be taken to prison rather than sending in the boys with shotguns and billy clubs.  I got the idea for him in a G+ thread and thought I’d use him if this entanglement ever came up.

clock

Charming got a clock during the mess with the Bluecoat ship.

Cog 4

Captain Bragg seeks out Charming

What does that mean now that we know that Bragg is dead…or is he dead? Huh.

I also started keeping track of a few clocks that I’ll keep privately, just managing where different gangs are in their various struggles and ambitions. One of the things I really like about the factions is that they are all in motion.

The Job with text

A good ole fashioned smuggling job in the Benthic Zone. I loved it. It got complicated due to an unfortunate roll from their engineer, Kyle. But jobs always get complicated.

The gang accidentally interrupted a deal between the Hive, aboard the Fog Hound, and the Bluecoats, aboard a barge that was supposed to be in the shop for repairs. A small cannon hit the Blackjack below the waterline when Charming’s barked orders weren’t heeded and his Command roll (Desperate Position/Great Effect) turned sour. When things got messy, the Hive’s mercenaries cleaned it up, killing everyone aboard Bluecoat ship and sinking it while the Blackjack limped away.

Skannon got to be stealthy and deadly when he went aboard and killed the Bluecoat officer who ordered the shelling of the Blackjack. It showed how Skannon was now cold, how his time in prison has changed him.

The job was fast; we got it done in less than an hour, jumped right in with both feet.

They delivered pistols and powder to the Billhooks, who made it clear that they were going to use this new gear to give magistrates a very difficult time in the coming week.

When they got back to their HQ, a courier was there, delivering 2 extra COIN on top of the 8 COIN made from the job. Inside was a note from the Hive about silence being golden.

One more thing that happened in the murky area that exists between setting and mechanics. The job occurred outside of the lightning barrier. The engagement roll started with the crew out at sea, packing crates and barrels into their hold with the waves battering both boats. For whatever reason I didn’t want to start with the gang figuring out how to get past the lightning barrier.

I e-mailed the group and asked about that and we went back and forth about it a bit. Pete came up with a cool idea:

If I may: Dropping the Wall every time a ship needs to cross it seems like an invitation for disaster.  What if all ships are equipped with Tesla or Faraday Cages to disperse the lightning as they breach.  That way every time a ship breaches, it pings the two towers nearest it and that becomes a matter of record.

For clarity: when the lightning barrier fluctuates due to a ship breech, the disruption in current triggers a switch on a counting machine.  That is what I meant by ping.  I didn’t want you all to think that anything more complex than a difference engine was at work here.

It is funny that the way discussions are structured in the game is seeping in to our e-mail conversations about the game.

The Mechanics in White

The pressure the game exerts through heat prompted Pete to volunteer Skannon go to jail in order to alleviate the crew’s heat. That decision left its mark on the character and the campaign. The heat is on again and we’ll have a rough round of entanglements to start the next session.

They jostled some stashed money around so they could go up to Tier 1, giving Skannon 1 die to roll (rather than 0 dice, which is roll 2, take the lower result) while incarcerated. Yeah, while in prison the only thing that you have is your gang’s rep. Harsh.

Throwaway comments on how NPC’s kept walking into the HQ led to us spending the crew’s advance on heightened security – a door and living quarters in the flooded and abandoned hotel under Brightstone where they meet up.

Discussion on G+


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. “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: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wm. Hawes in front of jewelry store with intricate clock.” The New York Public Library Digital Collectionshttp://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-69ca-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
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Camera notes”The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1901-10-01. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/a9185640-2289-0132-f854-58d385a7bbd0

The Immortal Emperor

Pictured below is the Undying and Imperial Majesty, Immortal Emperor of Akoros, Arch-Duke of the Southern Hook and the Northern Hook, King of Skovlan and Grand Admiral of the Akorosi Navy.

There is some distortion in the picture below, as there is in all statues, pictographs and artistic depictions of the Immortal Emperor, a side-effect of the puissant ritual used during his coronation that allowed him to break free from the yoke of the Necromancer Oligarchs who tried to thwart his ascension.

The Immortal Emperor

The Immortal Emperor / Tier VI

The Emperor arrives in the city for the first time since turning on the lightning barriers in a haze of pomp and heightened security. From the moment his personal train pulls into Gaddoc Station the skies are choked by Imperial airships and the docks are patrolled by Imperial warships. (+2 Heat to any jobs that involve the Immortal Emperor’s Allies or Enemies)

Faction Clocks: Uncover Assassination Plot 8 / Gather Enough Mercantile and Noble Support in Order to Declare War in Iruvia 8

Turf: A week before the Emperor arrives his secret police and Imperial Engineers take over Whitecrown, setting up physical security and a back-up lightning barrier, discreetly set into place with the finest technology modern science can produce just in case the city’s barrier should fall. The Imperial levy is tripled while the Immortal Emperor is visiting and profound pressure is put on magistrates, inspectors and Bluecoats to put dangerous scoundrels in the depths of Ironhook for the length of the Emperor’s stay. (Any Arrests made during the Emperor’s visit will remain in jail until he leaves or the scoundrel escapes).

NPCs: Stev Scurlock (warden supreme, patient, curious, cold)  Brance Daava (brigadier general of the Eternal Lions, paranoid, aggressive, sadistic) Lucella Dunvil (grand duchess, captain of the Secret Police, heir to the Governorship of Imperial City, bored, intrigued, ambitious).

Notable Assets: The Emperor rolls deep. His retinue includes the Eternal Lions, elite bodyguards whose zealous platoons are bolstered by state of the art war-hulls. His perimeter is circled by airships full of sky marines and his living quarters are warded by his personal whispers and a kennel full of Sevrin Bull Terriers, hunting dogs that are able to tear ghosts apart with their green and black teeth. His personal staff Wardens are the original posse who fought and bled alongside him to cut free of the Necromancer Oligarchs, cheat death and then implement the lightning barriers.

Allies: Imperial Military, Leviathan Hunters, Ministry of Preservation, Spirit Wardens, City Council

Enemies: The Foundation, Iruvian Consulate, Lord Scurlock, The Reconciled

Situation: The Emperor and his court have arrived in Doskvol for one reason, to gather support among the Leviathan Hunters and mercantile interests in order to declare war on Iruvia and claim its lands as a colony of the Immortal Empire.

IE Parade in DW


Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Nicholas I, emperor of Russia.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1881. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-fdb9-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Grand Procession, April 10th 1871, in commemoration of the Treaty of Peace betwen Germany and France.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1859 – 1899. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-1bcc-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Blades in the Dark Gang War

Gang War with 3D text

These are some ideas  for Blades in the Dark, when non-player gangs are at war.

Right before or right after a job, roll a fortune roll for each warring party. Did the players do something to give an advantage to one side or the other? If so, give one side a major advantage or another side a major disadvantage. If what they did is known, they take -1 faction status with the gang they hindered. If what they did is a crucial part of a gang’s success, they take +1 faction status.

War creates opportunities for jobs but eventually it causes problems for everyone.

Every time one side rolls a 6 in their fortune roll, heat for all jobs is +1.

clock

cog-6

Gang-moot gathers to discuss ending the war clock

A 6 count clock begins ticking for local gangs looking for ways to end the war quickly; this conflict has begun to cut into everyone’s bottom line as the local papers run stories on out of control gang violence and Bluecoats crack down and begin to edge closer to getting military hardware. Ending the war might mean getting together reasonable leaders who can bring the warring parties together in a neutral space or it might mean throwing everyone’s weight behind one side and wiping the other out. Players can dedicate downtime actions towards putting ticks on this clock (or taking them off). If they put several ticks on the clock, they will have a say on who is invited and who is left out.

 

Art

Clark, Walter Appleton, Artist. He gripped Prosper by the head. [?] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2010715410/&gt;.
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 Collectionshttp://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e0-69ca-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

 

Event – The Scarlet Bride PDF

Event – The Scarlet Bride PDF with Opportunities to get this feral ghost hunting down the living in your own campaign.

PDF, edited and laid out by Sean Nittner with more wonderful Blades resources HERE.
Any errors are mine. Thank you, Sean!
Scarlet Bride

The Feral Ghost known as the Scarlet Bride kills at will in the back-alleys while those the Immortal Emperor’s sent to protect us are holed up in their Ivory Manor in Whitecrown, denying the spectre’s very existence.

On the 17th of Elisar, Quess Sevoy never made it home from the Laughing Goat Pub after asking Crowl Templeton for his hand in marriage on . A gondlier found her body, a shriveled husk, spring flowers in her hair and under her fingernails. Ring Daava was found headless, flowers stuffed into his neck-stump after the Daava and Slane families had arranged his marriage to Mara on the 45th of that same month.

Whispers in the know say it is a feral ghost called the Scarlet Bride who is to blame.

The Scarlet Bride stalks the back-alleys of Duskwall during feast-days with her maid-sisters in tow, murdering young men and women on the precipice of getting married. Survivors say the Scarlet Bride maid-sisters begin by throwing flower petals at their victim’s feet and ambush them in the alleys as they run in terror.

The Warden-General declined to give an official word on the status of the Spirit Warden’s hunt for this feral spectre but his office offered this statement:

“Your reporters need to seriously consider that the Scarlet Bride could easily be a clever gang. This puff piece does nothing but cement the reputation of Duskwall’s latest masked criminals.”

When will those who are holed up in their ivory manor in Whitecrown come down from their silver carriage to save us, as the Immortal Emperor intends? The Warden-General’s office declined to comment on the murders of young men and women in the threshold of their nuptials.

As always, the Inspector’s offices declined to comment on any ongoing investigation or even if such an investigation exists. A reliable source among the City Watch said that the murders were not yet of sufficient volume to warrant any official investigations based on the neighborhoods in which the murders occur. The source went on to say that there was no proof that the high numbers of murders in the neighborhoods the Scarlet Bride calls her hunting grounds, it was not clear that the deaths were not mundane murders with no ghostly foundation at all.


Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Fille armenienne, que l’on conduit à l’eglise pour la marier” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1714. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-6a1f-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99