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

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 Fog Hound Job

In which the Fog Hound gang is disbanded, troubling details about the Hive are uncovered and the Wobeggong Crew (almost) joins the ranks of Doskvol’s official tier 1 gangs.


Part 1

There was screen freeze-up and my volume was way down. My apologies, that is on me.

Part 2

Part 1 on Twitch

Part 2 on Twitch (same game, had to restart at the break)

The Gang

Pete and Sean were out, so it was Rob and Jay playing Charming and Willoughby. I’ve been gaming with these guys since I was 12 years old. They were both there when I first gamed.

Good times.

I like the structure of Blades in the Dark because when people can’t show up I can just say, “It is the day of the job and 2 members of the gang don’t show up. This is normal; this is what happens when you work with criminals and scoundrels. Everyone is notoriously unreliable.” Easy-peasy to explain away absences.

Rob posted his thoughts on his Public G+ Feed and over in the G+ Blades Community.

Duskwall again

The Fog Hound Gang: A moment of silence for Margette Vale, the gang’s fearless leader and Bear, former Imperial Marine turned smuggler. The only survivor was Goldie, a navigator with a head full of gold teeth who took a liking to Willoughby.

I pulled the info for this gang from the book. The details included there made it easy for me to incorporate them into the Hive’s newfound patronage.

Brill: We got to meet Willoughby’s drug dealer and rival – one of those social drug dealers who makes his living by providing a nice atmosphere and welcoming people into his apartment/warehouse home. He makes his house the party.

Worth noting that it is now agreed that Willoughby will go talk to the Billhooks to get them off of Brill’s back.

Kross Pritchard: This smug bastard Hive-agent was back as the gang’s handler for this job.

Hix Comber: Ink Rake who the Fog Hounds were watching, deciding if they could trust her or not.

They heard some background noise about the Lampblacks and Red Sashes going to war but from the word on the street, no bodies had been dropped just yet but word was it was about to turn into Barghast Beach in the city streets of Doskvol.

The Job with text

Rob had Willoughby make a Gather Information roll to find out about the Fog Hound and it just kept escalating. Rob and Jay definitely go by the Player’s Best Practice mentioned in the book, GO INTO DANGER, FALL IN LOVE WITH TROUBLE. Shit, Jay is driving Charming as if he’s a stolen car.

At the end of Rob’s string of escalating rolls, we went from a party at a drug-dealer’s house to Willoughby and Goldie in the hold of the Fog Hound ready to make out but due to a failed roll, Goldie knew something was up and drew a knife.

I hit pause there and went to Jay.

Realizing this was about to pop off, I got Jay involved quickly, not wanting Charming to miss the whole job. Charming was on his way back from the Pig Pit, where he trained during his downtime when he saw Willoughby, dressed as a rich tart, walk by with the Fog Hound Gang. Charming followed them there before launching a frontal assault on the steamship.

After that, it was a blur of rage essence and sleep dust and slaughter. In the end, Willoughby had Goldie drugged asleep and Charming was gut-shot on the deck, covered in blood, surrounded by bodies.

Goldie told them that the Hive is selling Skovlander kids. The Fog Hound Gang was going to get that information out and expose them. That didn’t sit right with Charming or Willoughby but in the end, they delivered the goods and lied about everyone being dead.

Upon being set free, Goldie said he was going to go out into the Void Sea, get a gig and get away from land to clear his head. Willoughby told him to seek them out and work for them when he returned and she intimated that they’d finish the make-outs they had begun before knives and sleep-dust started to get drawn.

They got a good 6 Coin haul off this gig and they are now officially a Tier 1 gang. Their Heat is way up there after this job but frontally assaulting a gang on a public dock will do that.

The Mechanics in White

tom hardy gif

Due to the way rolls escalated, we missed the Engagement Roll, which is fine. That mechanic is there to set the scene and start the job from an action packed scene. We did that fine on our own this time out.

I got to rock out and dish out some harm. As a matter of fact, I didn’t use clocks once in this job. It was honestly moving just too damned fast. We got a resistance roll and lots of stress. I laid off the clocks tonight. None were advanced tonight.

I upped Harm, dealt out Heat and put characters into Desperate rolls as parts of Devil’s Bargains. It felt like I was dealing out lots of Desperate rolls tonight.

When we stopped at 11 I kind of wanted to do the Downtime and keep going but Rob wisely got us to bed by ending the game. 2 hour sessions, one game for a job, another for downtime seems like it is going to work really well for us.

I’m getting the hang out the Desperate/Risky/Controlled position and the Great/Standard/Little effect. We’re hitting our stride and the time spent in-character is increasing as our system mastery get’s better and we understand the short-hand of what is going on. Interesting and really fun.

NOTE: I messed up the way the crew increases it’s tier. They have to pay coin to go up to tier 1. Noted! Lots of moving parts all spinning to put pressure on them.

Twitch blog category

I had a really rocky start because I felt like I was having to concentrate on so many things all at once.

Pete had to cancel last minute, so I had to do a bunch of technical and boring things to make Jay and Rob’s faces fit where they were supposed to on the damned screen. Basically, this meant I spent 45 minutes on the computer before the game with Rob and Jay signed in, cussing at the computer as I re-set the entire set-up of the game’s back end in a bunch of fiddly ways.

Once we got moving, I didn’t hit the record button. Does the channel record ? Do I have to hit the record button on my end?

I have no idea.

The stream’s image froze up, according to chat. We re-set at the break but how long was it frozen?

Juggling this stuff while running a game is really difficult. Respect to the RPG twitch-streamers out there doing this every day.

That said, I like streaming games and I dig getting to interact with chat but there will definitely be a feeling out period for a while.

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 Wobeggong Crew between jobs: “Leave the bottle; take the hook.”

In which the gang lets off steam, trains in the Pig Pit, studies a demon-goddess’ altar, gets some artifact trinkets back from the Billhooks, and made contact with a barrister representing mercantile interests (and stole his watch).

Link to the Twitch Video on the Actual Play channel

The Gang

Muade, the gang’s Whisper joined the group; Charming knew her from the Unity War; they fought together on Barghast Beach, one of the bloodiest engagements of the war. I’ve known Sean for years and I’m excited to finally be able to game with him.

Skannon’s nickname is The Crow and that is what we called him for most of the game.

Charming hasn’t met a problem that a proper assault wouldn’t solve.

Willoughby was out indulging in her vice (as Rob couldn’t make it due to work responsibilities).

Duskwall again

I was surprised at how many places and people we generated through downtime.

  • Bug – Billhook, saved by Wobeggong Crew from prison barge who keister’d one of the Goat-Matron’s idol children
  • The Goat Matron, Saint of Witches, and her 13 Young – altar/engine, connected to an ancient demon-goddess and her brood
  • Grine – pub-owner being tortured by Coran after having stolen from the Billhooks
  • House of 11 Pleasures – brothel and tea-house owned by The Hive
  • The Pig Pit – a fighting pit run by the Billhooks where Charming works out
  • Phin Rowan, Barrister with Rowan, Dunvil and Welker – property and acquisitions lawyer
  • Queen Bee’s Nest – pub in Nightmarket where the gang dropped off a message to The Hive.

clock
Clocks are hitting the table and I’m also looking at the clocks in the book that go with each faction, particularly clocks for The Hive, the Bluecoats and the Billhooks but also thinking about the coming gang-war between the Red Sashes and the Lampblacks as fun background noise.

Cog 4

Blue Coats Hunt Down Shannon, 0 of 4

Cog 8 complete

Learn the True Nature of the Artifacts, 8 of 8

Maude completed the clock, letting her know all about the Goat-Matron’s altar and the names of the Saint of Witches’ children.

attune 666

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Three 6’s on the attune role when learning about the blood altar to a goat-headed witch-saint. LOVE IT.

Cog 1 of 6

Maud Becomes High Priestess of the Goat Matron, 1 of 6

Cog 3 of 4

The Hive Seeks Recompense from Charming, 3 of 4

This last one is like throwing a grenade into the game after the fuse is just about gone. Charming got his time-piece by menacing the mercantile conglomerate’s barrister but he’ll have to pay the price for it eventually. See below for more on this interaction.

The Mechanics in White

Jay had asked that we spend more time in-character this game and get to know our characters a bit. I welcomed that suggestion and tried to step sideways to the mechanics and encourage free play as much as possible. This meant that Downtime took a while and we didn’t get to the Job but that is okay. I feel like we fleshed out the gang and breathed some life into our Duskwall.

Sean joined us and he knows this game backwards and forwards. We would’ve done fine with downtime on our own but he helped us realize the importance of teamwork, even during downtime along with a thousand other details he informed us of quickly, rather us looking it up.

Sean gave us good pointers. I think we used a bit more teamwork than we would have in our downtime.

I’m going to read up on Stress & Trauma and Consequences & Harm. I feel like I’m not comfortable with the link between those mechanics and Action Rolls. I need to refresh.

I’ d like to look at one scene in particular:

[I’ll have the youtube video set to this scene later]

Charming wanted the barrister’s time-piece. Crow wanted Charming to chill so that the gang could secure The Hive as a source of lucrative jobs. It was a tense moment. Sean jumped in as a rules moderator, letting us know our options. Jay and Pete checked in one with another throughout. It was good stuff and a clock was created out of it. I liked how they both stayed respectful towards each other’s characters; there was affection between Charming and Crow even as they disagreed that was nice.

Those moments are tricky. I don’t want a fractured gang messed up by infighting but some friction is fun.

Streaming

twitch
It is an odd thing to have a video record of a game. It was surprisingly fun having a dozen or so folks (mostly friends and online friendly acquaintances) in chat, cheering the game on. Thank you to everyone who watched, thanks to the Actual Play Team for hosting our game and thanks to Sean for walking us through this process.

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
Allen, Grant. Mr. Grant Allen’s New Story “Michael’s Crag.” With … Marginal Illustrations in Silhouette, Etc. London: Leadenhall, 1893.

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