Actual Play – A debt to the Hive (5/23/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark

Bellweather Crematorium (again)

On occasion Elke began to notice a pattern. A deep churning vibrating through the creamatorium. A vast furnace being ignited, machinery waking from it’s slumber and heavy gears grinding distantly. Then, just at her periphery she would detect the presence of a ghost manifesting, and the abruptly being incinerated with electropasm.

After days of noticing this pattern, and many more days of being locked up without any contact, she decided that she would command the Wardens’ attention. She waited until she sensed the ghost manifesting and then, quick ash she could, compelled it to come to her. And when it came, the tattered and ill formed spector that it was, it fled into her warm embrace and hide inside her spirit cocoon, sharing it’s terror with her.

When the Spirit Wardens, all covered in bronze masks, slammed open her door, electrified lightning hooks in hand, they stabbed them into her chest, destroying the ghost within her by burning her from the inside and causing her terrible wounds… but… she got their attention! “I want to talk to Maury!” [Desperate Command. Partial Success].

Decisions, Decisions

Hix sat in the Cat and Candle trying to do her work for professor Oilweather, but her heart wasn’t in it. There was too much going in and she couldn’t focus. They owed the Hive, but they also needed money. And Jadvyga was going to have to go off on a damn Leviathan Hunter, and Elke was still missing, and Harland was still in Ironhook, and overall things were a mess.

Ro was in the back chipping away at a block of ice to make a compress for Volette. Each stab at the ice chipping away at her own nerves. Jadvyga was trying to catch a mouse in a corner, playful but also distracting. Finally Hix blurt out (apparently apropos of nothing) “I don’t know what to do!”

Ogre, always trying to be helpful asked her if they were going to pull an LaRose, and get some payback for Volette? Tempting but that wasn’t going to make them any money or solve any of their problems. She yelled “GET OUT!” and tried to scare ogre away but allowing some of the thought tendrils of the Keeper of the Flame to fill the room [Controlled Command, Devils Bargain to invoke the Keeper, Bad Outcome]. Ogre stood, perplexed. This was probably the hundredth time that he had seen the Society invoke strange eldritch powers, but they still got to him every time. Finally Ro had to shoo him out of the room, he was happy to oblige.

The Council of Three

Hix, terrified of being in command, asked Ro and Jadvyga what they should do and the two of them decided that they should form a council to lead the crew. The three of them, each with a vote. And when decisions needed to be made, majority would win (and no, we won’t do what Arquo says just because he scares us…). Relieved that she could abdicate responsibility, Hix took that opportunity to let the Council (read: Ro and Jadvyga) decide what to do next.

And so they did. They were going to pay off their debt to the Hive and see if they could make some money while they were at it. And they brought Arquo along with them.

The Score

Corro had a simple job. Go find a ghost, his name is Roric. Roric has a box. Don’t open the box. Bring Roric and Roric’s box to me.

Wait, there’s more. This is Griggs. She’s a gonglolier. Griggs doesn’t like me but she owes me a favor. Take Griggs with you. She knows where Roric is.

Understand?

Oh, you want more? A way to earn money and repay your debpt at the same time. Fine. We can do that. There is six coin in this for you. Find Roric. Find his box. No, don’t open the box. Instead of bringing them to me, bring them to Lord Sukur in the Lost District. You want the job. Great. Good. Don’t open the box.

Griggs the Gondolier

Griggis is weird. Caught up in reverie sometimes, very concrete in others. She’s super proud of being a Gondolier, but also keeps secrets from them. The Society attempted to forge a connection wit he, and it work a bit [Griggs opens up to you 2/4] but when they also offered to perform the ritual that would protect her from possession, and by extension to join the society, that was pushing things to far [Win Girggs over to join the Doskvol Spectral Society 0/8, and would have lost the two ticks on getting her to open up if not for Ro’s charm, aka Resolve Resistance].

She told them where she believed Roric to be. Some place below the Centuralia club in Six Towers. Way below it, in the canals that used a lock and gate system to lower boats even further below the surface than most knew about. And into places that were guarded.

Cool, strange passages. Occult wards. Right up the Societies alley (er canal in the case).

Thou Shall Not Pass

[Our engagement roll (Stealth plan) came up with a risky result so…] We found the scoundrels in the canals deep under the city, blocked from advancing further by a heavy portcullis. On the opposite side two cloaked figures stood, still as statues.

After it was clear that they would not respond to normal conversation, and that they had no intent to raise the portcullis for the crew, Arquo called upon his connection with Setarra and ordered them to raise the portcullis. And it worked! It also terrified Ring, who happened to be on the boat with them, and her vaporous form fled from his demonic nature. [Risky Command. Partial Success]

They continued through the canals until they started hearing fog horns echoing through the passages, and further still they found an old stone dock outside a building built into the earth, wrapped in the roots of a petrified tree. Outside of it a ghostly hound with burning embers for eyes was growling at a patron, making it clear he was no longer welcome here.

Enter The Black Tree.

What Rocked

I can always count on my scoundrels to turn it up to 11. Corro wanted no part of this spirit trafficking business so when offered to do a little more in exchange for some coin, he was ready to hand off the rest of the job, and oh wow, what a job it became.

I loved that they tried to indoctrinate Griggs into the Society. She rejected the offer but we learned that she cares about the Gondoliers, who might not be all that much different than the society in how they take care of their own.

What Could Have Improved

I didn’t play Griggs as quite the senior member of the Gondoliers as I probably should have. She was sent on an errand to work with the Society, but she is their senior whisper and I feel like I played her as too much of a novice. Strange, ruthless, and haunted turned out to be tricky adjectives for me to use.