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
Advertisements

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 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