Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blades in the Dark Actual Play: The Perpetrators Episode 1&2

So I ran a game for people away from the internet, and things went well. The group formed up as The Perpetrators, a savvy crew with a dockside lair and a gang of rooks. 

The Perpetrators: Savvy rogues with a boathouse/docks and a gang of rooks. Naturally, everyone steals.
  • Polonia Templeton, 'Tick Tock.' Cutter. Bat Charity Obsessed. Ghost fighter.
  • Veleris Dunvil. Whisper, best friends with a possessing ghost. Storm-caller.
  • Thorn. Hound. Name only shared with best friend, not the crew. Killer and tinkerer.
  • Rowan 'Echo' Booker, Lurk and observer. Fan of scouting, skulking.
  • Ashlynn Hellyers, Slide. Ambiguous gender, ambiguous in general. 

Session 1

The group met Baszo Baz, our ambassador to the world of Blades in the Dark, decided not to kill him, thanks largely to Hellyers, who picked Baz as a best friend. 

They lied their way into a Red Sashes building, a run-down mansion filled with faux noble partiers and duelists. The crew presented themselves as a lightening-oil delivery, sowed chaos and confusion till the place was being evacuated, killed a few guards, blew up a few mechanical spiderlings running on splinters of old souls. They planted a witchy, ominous totem, fulfilling Baz' request, and we called it before getting to downtime, as it was late. 

The Slide's face would stick out in the minds of the guards, but otherwise there weren't a great many consequences, other than picking one side in a gang war. 

The Great Migration

Some folks moved away but continue to play, remotely. I took everyone's starter character sheets, thankfully emailed to me, and converted them to the Gencon rules. I am personally a big fan of the shorter skill list, and the one coming out soon, seen here, are even more fucking awesome. The whole 'fancy training is a playbook thing, rather than a seldom-used skill' change is sweet. Stitch and Invoke have gone that way - you can see it in the Whisper playbook with the Occultist special move. 

Session 2

I started out explaining a little bit about downtime activities and entanglement. Since it had been a while, and some folks had lost their stressed and used character sheets, I was fine with hand-waving damage and stress, focusing more on the long-term projects and other downtime choices. No one had particular ideas for projects or the like, so I'll probably put my mind to it before the next session, just to offer some suggestions. 

I rolled for entanglements, and found out that another, more powerful crew had asked the Perpetrators for a favor - to spy on the Lampblacks. So the Crows had gotten something over the PCs. We started again with the crew meeting with Baz, getting paid from their last job and getting wind of new possibilities. Baz wanted a noble kidnapped - one Melinda Holcombe, who never stayed in one place. She was driven about in double-decker carriages all day and night, changing carriages rather than stopping, dining and meeting other eccentric nobles on her collection of conveyances, dubbed the Moveable Feast.

The players seemed to think this mad noblewoman would be tough, and chose instead Sean Nitter's excellent Gaddoc Station score

As an aside, I have to work on asking tight, specific questions. Often I ask really opened-ended details ('who has been here before, what was it like'). Some people like this, some people get flustered and have nothing. But Gaddoc (and what Dungeon World and others actually suggests, what I need to work on) forced me to ask specific questions.  

So the patron is obvious. The crew learns / the players decide the score is lucrative, dangerous, and illegal. We talk about drugs, but decide they're not quite dangerous enough, and go with a kind of weapon-like thing. A portal to the Void, we decide, a convenient place to throw bodies or undesirables, as long as nothing comes out. Baz getting this will (somehow) further a revolutionary's plans, so there's a consequences to tie in later on.

The station is quarantined by bluecoats. Echo scopes it out and finds a handy way in, for those willing to climb and roof-hop. Her nemesis, a bluecoat, get suspicious seeing her in the crowd near the station. Ashlynn, kitted up as a bluecoat, discovers the station has a crowd of 15-20 hollows and a train full of terrified civilians in it. Veleris tries to scout one of his ghostly friends into the place, but receives only visions of passengers using the water closet - what one must endure, working with unclassy ghosts. Tick Tock procures a stolen, hot lightening-hook. Thorn forgoes preparatory acts as the Bluecoats are beginning to suspect the crew is up to something.

The PCs sneak and climb into the place, all weighed down by climbing gear to avoid mishaps as they enter the large, enclosed rail station and find themselves on the roof of the train. As they attempt to lockpick and disarm the rooftop hatch, Echo is poisoned (a 4-clock countdown) and a rival gang begins to enter, covering the Perpetrators with weapons but holding fire, momentarily.

In a more empty train car, the PCs plan their next step, an 8-clock ticks as the hollows try to break in, and Nail Comber approaches the PCs. He assumes they're with the Red Sashes and there to rescue him and take the Void portal. Veleris can feel the weight of emptiness, the crushing horror of it, and his Wizard Eyes leak horrible visions into Ashlynn's mind. Despite this, the Slide masterfully convinces Comber to turn over the portal and wait for them in the train's engine compartment. The he/she can no longer perceive Hollows, as she/he sees only souls and spirits clearly.

Veleris concentrates and sends a decoy of the Void portal off with Nails, and the Hollows are distracted, confused. The PCs flee into a Duskwall subway tunnel (that's right! subways!) and the Other Gang pursue. A series of traps and ambushes later, the other gang is vanquished, and the Perpetrators are soon sitting before Baz again. 

I ask about the entanglement, and the Slide's player suggests they double-cross the Crows, letting Baz in on it. Baz rewards them richly, chortling about how soon the Red Sashes and the Crows will bow before him, all thanks to the crew! And the crew, somewhat uncomfortable, nods along. For now. 

Future Consequences

  1. Revolutionaries and Baz connected somehow, as revolutionaries benefited from this job succeeding.
  2. The whisper sent off a possessing ghost 'friend' to attack the gang. So whispers can do this. One from the Other Gang attempted this against Veleris as well, to no particular effect.
  3. Nail Comber - dead, alive? 
  4. Baz has a damn Void Portal. The Red Sashes will be getting desperate.
  5. The crew double-crosses the Crows. 
  6. The Red Sashes still know Ashlynn's face.


  1. What in the hell is going to come out of that portal?!?!

  2. Like imma tell one of my players! Nice try home skillet!

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