Wobbegong Crew: the Coalridge Demon Job

In which the Wobbegong Crew try to set Maude’s demonic mistake right, angering the Hive and the Lampblacks in the process and brutally fail in the mines under Coalridge.

The Gang

In the end this game happened because Maude failed some rolls and turned Coalridge into a charnel house. Sean decided that Maude had a conscience, which is a gutsy and fun decision. My favorite parts of this game were when the players made decisions for their characters that gave the situations and supernatural setting stuff real weight.

Maude deciding that she had to own up to her mistakes and ask the gang to do a job to make it right.

Willoughby and Charming acting scared when meeting Roric’s ghost.

It is one thing to have a Heavy-Metal-Album-Cover Demon unleash hell in a city district and having a ghost smoking a cigarette but Sean, Rob and Jay’s decisions gave it all real weight and feeling. It was inspiring.

Everyone had moments where they shined and the group is getting better at playing off one another. From Charming making brutal use of Willoughby’s truth-hearing to the way Willoughby managed to be the only person to escape.

Rob’s write-up of the game is well worth reading over on G+.

Duskwall again

We learned a bunch about Duskwall tonight. From the warehouse where the Hive sells people and their brutal security teams to the fact that if you sacrifice the right people on the Saint of Witch’s altar you can rummage around in the dead bodies and pull out weapons.

Lucella: accountant for the Hive – sacrificed to the Saint of Witches

Atreus: The Saint of Witches blood-thirsty son, now roaming free in Coalridge.

The Job with text

We were going to do a job concerning the hostage they had and using that leverage to broker peace between the Red Sashes and the Lampblacks but Maude had a problem. She had unleashed a demon into Coalridge and the word I used to describe the quarantined district was charnel house. It was weighing on Maude’s mind.

Charming and Willoughby agreed to put the hostage job aside and help Maude try to put this demon back in the bottle. Charming grabbed 2 people from a Hive-owned warehouse where they stored slaves, or as the Hive calls them, Product. He grabbed a guard and an accountant.

Willoughby found a coin-generating job to do in Coalridge, finding out that a factory foreman had a vault with treasure in still in the deserted district. It was a way to make some money on the endeavor. They never got to it.

Maude took the 2 human-traffickers from the Hive and killed the one still alive. The Saint of Witches put weapons inside them. It was squicky! Killing someone in a fight is one thing but killing an accountant who is chained up, even one who helps the slave trade was uncomfortable for all of us. It wasn’t over the line but it was close.

The failed their engagement roll and ended up in the crossfire between the Spirit Wardens and the demon and its cultists. Turns out the cultists were Lampblacks.

It was a total disaster. They prowled into position. Willoughby provided a distraction, acting like a scared citizen. After that it was a disaster. Charming broke against the demon in an assault – he trauma’d out. Maude tried to channel the demon’s mother’s voice. She failed to contain that much energy and vomited blood.

Willoughby wanted to grab Charming and bounce but she rolled a 5. She got out but Charming stayed.

The Mechanics in White

I don’t keep track of the players’ stress; they do that. When Charming trauma’d out it was a surprise to me. The stress mounted slowly and surely. The scoundrel’s grind is brutal.

Demons are no joke.

I liked the way it all shook out. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

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 Collectionshttp://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
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The Hellspawn and the Imperial Briefcase Job

 

Hellspawn Title 3D Red

In which the Hellspawn steal a briefcase from an Imperial Agent, talk to the Dimmer Sisters about some lost muscle and learn more about the demon.

Duskwall again

I had nearly forgotten that in the first job in the rush of fire and larceny the Hellspawn had stolen a second painting, one that was not requested to be stolen by their employer. Helles decided to look it over; they thought that perhaps it was somehow arcane. Dev said he was using Attune and I asked him how Helles was doing that which led to his cool description. Helles had a cup of water that she was using like a magnifying glass over the tapestry. She rolled and failed, drawn into the depths of the tapestry, depicting an ancient siege.

He discovered Naria, who had been muscle for the Dimmer Sisters but had become trapped in this tapestry. Helles was not able to bring them both out.

They met with the Dimmer Sisters when Helles looked into the tapestry they stole during the last job. She discovered that the demon was using the tapestry to gain access to their dreams and that there was a long-lost Dimmer Sister trapped within it. The Dimmer Sisters want their sister back but are leery of having that kind of Tycherosi magic in their manor. They’ve offered their help on a future job should the Hellspawn find a way to free Naria, who was lost on a job in the Veil Social Club 40 years ago.

The Hellspawn’s reaction to the Dimmer Sisters was starstruck awe. They had cool matching black dresses with black lace on the trim, mystique and poise. “I hope the Dimmer Sisters like us.” I described Roslyn,the Dimmer Sisters go-to gang member for outside-the-house dealings as a young Whoopi Goldberg with black lipstick on. I’m not sure why but that is what I saw when I pictured her.

Una completed a long term job about learning more about the demon. She learned that he’s known as The Serpent and was the power-behind-the-throne for the Goat King, whose siege is depicted in their stolen tapestry. She knows that well-to-do Tycherosi worship the Serpent in weekly rituals.

The Job with text

They took this job as penance because the Demon was pissed at them but also kind of impressed with their moxy. They’d be paid but there was no question. The job had to be done or the Demon would be pissed.

An Imperial Agent was coming to Doskvol via train and picking up a briefcase. They were to steal this briefcase. They did not know exactly where the briefcase was to be picked up. The crew set up around the likely exits of Gaddoc Station and rolled a 6 on the Engagement roll. The agent walked up to Helles and threw her a silver. “Go get me a cab and there will be another in it for you if the cab looks tidy. There’s a good lass…”

Flashback to Una securing a cab a few days ago and she is there to pick him up. He finds her Tycherosi heritage a charming exotic touch to the trip and asks to be taken to the Doskvol Academy. I explained to Dev and Laura that they’d have trouble following across the Great Bridge into Whitecrown. Flashback to Vestine, hidden in the trunk of the goat-drawn cab. The agent came back to the cab with the briefcase chained to his wrist.

They took a side-road route through the Docks and once they were in an abandoned area of warehouses dosed the agent with trance powder, threw a cloak over his head, cut the chain from his wrist, set another case in its place rigged with a fire oil trap and convinced him that a Bluecoat broke the robbery up before it could go down and the cab-driver had been driven off in the process.

It was the smoothest job I have ever seen. There were very few rolls (2 or 3…maybe too few?) and because they hit their engagement so well, I had that first roll to dose him with trance powder be Controlled, Great. I just didn’t think the agent would have any reason to doubt anything they were doing to get him into position.

Back in the safety of their cave HQ, they wanted to see what was in the briefcase and studied it carefully before doing so. They discovered that the case was fine but the papers had the Seal of the Undying Emperor, meaning that whoever broke said seal would send information back to the Imperial Court – but exactly what information was unclear. They decided to leave the seal unbroken.

The Demon paid them 6 Coin, letting them know that this payment included taxes for property and personnel damage previously incurred (setting the club on fire and killing the waiter). The Hellspawn thought that was pretty fair.

The Mechanics in White

Before the game started I explained how the fictional positioning in Action Rolls worked.

After the job, I showed them the Turf map on the Crew Sheet. “Your next job could be just what you pick up from around town, in which case I’ll offer 2 or 3 jobs and you can pick one or you could go to the Demon or the Dimmer Sisters and see if they’ve got any work for you. Or you could pick up some turf, which means taking something from another gang because you are all rats in a barrel.”

The primary interest was around stealing a Gambling Den from the Crows or taking Turf from the Dunslough Pigs, a Tier 0 gang created during character creation; the Pigs are the gang they stole their cave HQ from. They decided that taking on the Crows was not wise at this point. They’re going to take a barn on an eel farm next week, occupied by the Pigs, used for god-only-knows-what.

I liked that the turf gave us a reason to talk about setting stuff a bit. Suddenly, Lyssa having just betrayed Roric had a direct impact on them because her unsteady hand meant this was more ripe for the taking than it otherwise would’ve been. The turf map gave the setting info context.

Una said, “I think taking on a more experienced gang, led by someone who is willing to kill her own friends, not to mention a group of young thieves in a small gang who take her shit, is not a wise move at this point.”

These Dunslough kids are smart for a pack of scoundrels.

NOTE: I haven’t written about the adorable free play with the characters bickering and poking fun like a group of sisters but I felt like I over-wrote this AP as it was. More on that later…

Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Sing Sing Prison.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-5e82-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
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 Hellspawn and the Fight Night Art Replacement Job

In which the Hellspawn, Tycherosi prison orphans who operate out of a cave in Dunslough, accept their first job – stealing a piece of art in a social club.

In which Janaki and I game with our neighbors, Dev and Laura. Yay, face to face game. Having neighbors who are friends in NYC is a rare treat. It is nice to have a face to face game again.

The Gang

Helles “Bell” Tycherosi, the Spider, from whom the gang gets their name, the leader. Her older brother is Twelves, who is serving time in Ironhook but is allowed visitors and is the gang’s mentor. She has crystal faceted eyes due to her Tycherosi heritage.

Una “Bricks” Tycherosi, the Cutter, a pugilist who fights in pits all over Doskvol. She has goat horns on her head due to her Tycherosi heritage.

Kestine “Thistle” Tychero, the Leech, inventor of alchemical birth control. She has rows of shark teeth in her mouth due to her Tycherosi heritage.

 

The job was fun but I felt like it didn’t allow a moment for everyone to stretch their wings and be cool. I was vexed and tense.

Relax, Judd! You are among friends.

I looked over the jobs chart and saw something about stealing and replacing a piece of art. I noticed that there was a Tycherosi owner of a social club. I liked that option because the crew had to debate about it a bit. Would they rob a Tycherosi? I like those moments, especially in the first games, where the gang can decide their boundaries and codes of conduct.

The crew got into the social club on a fight night, under the auspices of being there to support Una, there to fight her pugilist friend, Marlane.

I loved what the players were doing and their choices. I asked for a roll for the Leech to fool a waiter and there should have been no roll there. It led to cool stuff, though, so I should chill out a bit.

When Kestine was sneaking around on the second floor of the social club she saw a young rich kid getting worked over by Aldo, a bookie with the Crows. Later they he was unconscious while the second floored burned because of Una’s alchemical fire. Helles saved him and now they are kind of courting. Una and Kestine gives her shit for that. The rich kid’s name is Milos Strangford.

The job ended with the Veil on fire, the art stowed away and the Spider in her under-garments.

I’ll call that a successful first session.

The Mechanics in White

I did a bunch of escalating instead of Harm. I’m not sure if those were wise choices.

We jumped right to downtime and in order to lower their Heat, they went back and killed a waiter who they’d left alive. The Cutter and the Leech grabbed him and knifed him on his way back from work so he couldn’t identify them. Ruthless!

Dev wanted to get something to help with the Train Job and he tried to acquire an asset, which is really difficult as a Tier 0 gang.

I remembered to roll Entanglements after the Downtime was over. I got Demonic Notice/Show of Force. There was a bunch of talk about the owner of the Veil, a Tycherosi who is said to have a snake’s body for his lower half. The gang was doubtful that he really had a snake’s body or even if he was really Tycherosi at all.

The Demonic Notice began to take shape. He’s a demon and now that they’ve damaged his place, he wants them to do a job for him. They have to steal a attache case from an Imperial Agent leaving the city on a train. The next job is a train job.

Next game – more on how to get more dice for each roll. More Devil’s Bargains. More Harm. Better clocks. More relaxed Judd.

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 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.

clock

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.
Sincerely,
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.

 

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 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.

clock

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.


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

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+

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