Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vices of Duskwall

I've dropped my 5e campaign and have only played in one game in the last month or so. A game of Blades in the Dark, an upcoming John Harper game I kickstarted. It was lots of fun.

In the game your scoundrel takes Stress for avoiding the consequences of bad rolls or bad decisions, or for helping fellow rogues get things done. You recover between jobs by indulging in a vice. There's stuff you'd expect - drinking, doing drugs, hiring escorts. And then there's the stuff you have to think about a bit more.

Things Collected
  1. Leviathan hunter harpoon heads, pitted with rust or gore.
  2. Pre-imperial coinage stamped with unknown monarchs.
  3. Recordings of Leviathan song. Can cause nosebleeds, hallucinations.
  4. Out-of-print penny dreadfuls.
  5. Heliotypes of captured human souls.
  6. Repurposed dockworks sculptures, artist(s) unknown. They seem poised on the verge of movement.
  7. Sketches by the prolific natural philosopher, Hellas Dvorkin. Her renderings from the polar south are filled with blotted out, surely-fictional Others.
  8. Pre-cataclysmic books on astronomy, star maps. From what people can see, the stars are all wrong. Conversely, stars have been seen in the inky black ocean from time to time.
  9. Recordings of Ada Llewellyn, opera singer
  10. Glassed sand rocks from spirit wells. They glow softly.

Weird Shit You Get Into
  1. Seances over a cauldron of boiling leviathan blood
  2. Temporary flash photographic hollowing - empty heliotype film canister allows the soul to return after a quarter hour. Mostly.
  3. Blindfolded alterboy/altergirl work at the Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh; the job requires an unbeliever
  4. Flatlining and recovering via black lotus powder, cut with Forgotten Gods only know
  5. Alchemical test subject for a beautician's salon
  6. Deathlands gecko training - they're hunters' companions. Love leviathan music.
  7. Smuggling ghosts out of the city.
  8. Smuggling ghosts into the city.
  9. Talking to a well's trapped demon in an abandoned part of town.
  10. Making artisan bathtub gin cut with electroplasm.

  1. Orphans! Miserable, destitute orphans straight from Dickens.
  2. Family: stolid, staid, uncomfortable with your work.
  3. Old leviathan-hunter's crewmates. Too many are too crazed to work.
  4. Stray animals: dogs, cats, rats.
  5. Goat herder clan meandering around town.
  6. Common-sense-lacking, tongue-wagging, illegal unionist.
  7. Impoverished, discredited inspector. You probably helped ruin her career.
  8. Archaeological museum. Fraught from without and within.
  9. Thespians whose plays go to far in mocking the Emperor.
  10. All your bastard children. And their children.

Affiliation - removed, but it'll live on here
  1. A cult! An illegal gathering for worshiping horrible cthonic powers who wait.
  2. Ghost traffickers. Bringing ghosts out of the city so they can be 'free.' Or bringing them in because you're a terrible person.
  3. Illicit plant growers. Farmers are strictly rationed by the nobility and typically provide food for the nobles. Illegal farming requires enough lightening oil and space to be considered a misapplication of imperial resources.
  4. Spelunking society of treasure-seekers. Possibly affiliated with an archaeological museum that's limping along.
  5. Leviathan hunter's halfway house, home to a rotating cast of the mad.
  6. Hounds Auxiliary. Kind of a Coast Guard Reserve of Hounds, who, of course, scour the deathlands for spirit wells, ancient usable technology, and other threats to the Empire.
  7. Coarse lowly criminals, cursing and bullshitting into their cups.
  8. Unionist pamphleteers and poster-runners.
  9. Newspaper of some repute. The character is technically a stringer and is expected to turn in copy once every few weeks.
  10. Society of shite actors and amateur writers, carrying out stories with ritualistic combat at pre-determined points to randomly determine story flow.

Drugs - as it turns out, deserving of more thought than I initially reckoned.
  1. Sanitized leviathan blood.
  2. Unsanitized of the above.
  3. Freebased electroplasm - 'wrestling ghosts.'
  4. Black. Lotus. Powder.
  5. Laudanum.
  6. Fermented sea 'water,' which is jet black and not quite at the consistency of water.
  7. Amphetamine dust.
  8. Hashish blocks and laudanum dabbed grapes.
  9. Smilers. Alchemical lumps of clay-like mash designed to induce happiness, originally because the Sun is fucking gone.
  10. Psilocybin tea. Crumpets.