Actual Play – Deadbeats (9/28/2016)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.7

Drinks on the Dimmer Sisters

Elated with their recent acquisition, the Society celebrated at the Cat & Candle and we described the aftermath of their conquest.

Irelen, without his patron was kicked out of Charterhall. He has debts due and there are people looking to get paid. Irelen has disappeared but chances are he’ll be bad (loyal, enigmatic, obsessive).

After talking about his fate, the crew got to arguing among themselves over:

  • How to handle Ring, Wester, and Lynhtia who joined from the Path of Echoes but have always been on the outside.
  • Whether or not the Society is a “gang”.
  • If they should help Cricket, who is withering away under Vond’s possession.
  • If the Path of Echoes are our people or if they are the enemy.
  • Not if, but when Hix should break up with Salia (she had been leading her on since that incident in the costume shop and Salia was to enamored to be able to tell).
  • Why Elke has such a problem with Scurlock. He had sent the ashes of her grandmother back to the Dagger Isles with his condolences after she passes away.

Troubles with Slen

Harland, still trying to recover from his pneumonia, got an unexpected visit from Slen, who had a black eye and a big old chip on his shoulder against Ogre. “I want your student patrol leader brought to me so I can give him the ass kicking he deserves…”

There were many “woahs” and “calm down” and maybe some “that looks bad, why don’t you come sit by me and I’ll tend to it” until Harland got the story out of Slen

Two students, Drav Brogan and Andrel Rowan had been fronted a large sum of coin to acquire some documents for Slen’s captain. The two numbskull not only frittered away the coin but they also lost the document. As Slen was demonstrating what a bad idea it is take money for Captain Pratt, he was suddenly jumped by Ogre and Vollette and the two of them worked him over and let those shitheels Brogan and Rowan scamper away. All in the name of protecting the student body! [Entanglement: Gang Trouble based on their flaw: Principled]

Once calmed Slen told Harand he wasn’t mad at him, but that he did need Ogre’s head, or at least to show his own crew that he could beat him within an inch of his life. Harland, as he often does, promised everything, with no idea how to deliver it.

Society meeting

Collectively the Society decided that they did not want to either offend Slen by refusing him or give up Ogre for a beating. They would adopt these two wayward students into the game (retroactively) thus offering them their protection, and make it right with Slen by finding the missing documents and turning them over.

Drav Brogan, connected to a wealth family and a complete fuck up himself, was not going to be anyone’s pawn however, and he called on the card of his well to do family. Harland countered with his weller-to-doer family and then laid out the ugly part of the plan. Brogan would be possessed by Nyryx (during the two day ritual) and during that time, they would let Slen and his sailors beat the living hell out of him.

Harland and Hix met Slen a Salia’s place and convinced him that it was Brogran that had really caused him the trouble, and getting revenge on him would be even better, plus the DSS would complete the job for them and put things right with his captain. Slen reluctantly agreed and started wrapping his fists. [Brogan takes Level 3 Harm: Crippled]

Damn Doksvol Spectral Society, damn.


Affairs settled, the crew turned to their own projects.

Elke continued her investigation to understand the means of a ghost’s possession [Long term project].

She also, adjacent to this wanted to develop a warding that would protect a soul from being removed from a living body. Elke asked Roslyn of the Gills if the Dimmer Sisters know of such protections and the apothecary revealed that such knowledge in their old manor home, but few wanted to enter that place for fear of it’s lingering wards. Elke rounded up a force to go in and despite a hollow guardian ambushing their exploratory mission, they managed to recover a tomb from Dimmer Sister’s library and make it out unharmed. [Long term project, this one to fuel a ritual. 1/4 ticks, complication arose due to using an enemy for assistance].

Hix, rattled by all her recent encountered look to find solace at Salia’s den of pleasure. After the meeting with Slen, she glided over to Salia who has been avoiding her all night. This was a tipping point for Salia. She thought, at first, that Hix was genuinely fond of her, they had shared that mischievous exciting moment in the theater dressing room, limbs entangled with each other, full of passion. After that though, Hix had all but ignored her, and she felt it. Painfully she felt it. But Salia is tough. She provides pleasures for coin. She knew better than to get involved. Of course she did.

And yet, and yet. Here was Hix, worn out and looking for a hit of something strong and a warm body to wash it down with. I asked how she was going to play this and told her that her relationship with Salia was on the line [Mechanically, after this encounter, unless Hix did something to ameliorate it, Salia would change form close friend to enemy]. Hix said all the right words to both seduce her in the moment and convince her that it was all in her head, and sadly for Salia, it worked [Hix rolled to sway her and got a crit, exceptional success]. Hix enjoyed an evening of delights and left Salia explaining to all her friends how Hix really does love her and does care about her, she was just hard to understand sometimes. [Indulge Vice. Note: see what could be improved]

Harland, at the prompting of his crew mates visited Riven Montgomery-Beaumont to start healing from his Spectral Pneumonia. Riven, in his tell tale style was sure Harland would lose a lung…if not for his amazing medical expertise.  [Recovery]

Once treated, Harland returned to his workshop to complete his sovereign glue project, which he not only completed, but began a process by which he could manufacture it in bulk [Long term project completed and excess ticks rolled over into a new one]

Hix then went about trying to reduce heat for the crew by spreading rumours about other gangs activities [Reduce heat] and she wrote a letter to Frost’s superior officer praising Frost’s work [Long term project to gain frost as an ally]

Invite to a fancy art show

Following up on Professer Hellyer’s invite, Elke and Harlad, dressed as well as they could, went to her private art show. The found her apartment was up on the top of Charter Wall with an amazing view of the city. The building itself was lined with translucent windows which revealed indistinct movement inside. As they approached the hairs on the back of Elke’s neck rose and she sensed something was happening behind those windows. Never a person to go anywhere without her spirit mask, Elke donned the mask to see a macabre scene in the large panes of glass: ghosts in torment, reliving scenes of bodies being stretched into disfigurement, mutilations, and other sadistic images. The things of nightmares…all dancing through the windows [Mechanically, Elke would have had nightmares but she resisted it with Resistance Roll].

Quickly Elke removed her mask and was able to breath again. The door opened and they were greeted by Thena Hellyers and invited inside, where strange performance art was on display. Bodies in motion, thought in this cause all bodies unbound and moving freely. When Elke pressed Thena bout the strange happenings in the ghost field she revealed that those tortured souls were her family and a burden she had to live with. Harland picked up that the performance art was having some effect, in minor, in quieting the disturbance in the ghost field, but it was a temporary solution at best.

Fun times in Doksvol!

Crew Roster

Leaders: Elke, Hix, Harland
Members: Jadvyga, Stras, Ogre, Bazran, Vey, Volette, Ring, Wester, Lynthia, Scapa, Roslyn of the Gills, Brogran and Andrel.

What Rocked

I love how the society turned things around with the students. They were it a pretty bad spot, forced to either turn on Ogre or Slen, but managed to find the middle ground and punish Brogan instead. There is still plenty of fallout here, they’ve got to do a job for the sailors and they have added two new members to their crew that are really not going to be good for them in the long run, but they staved off disaster for a day.

The mini dungeon crawl into the Dimmer Sisters abandoned manor was this tiny little excursion that added some danger to downtime, it was fun times. The idea to present danger there came from a principle that I’ve been applying which is that when a PC takes downtime action with their enemy and wants to get the extra +1D to the roll, I make sure that some threat is presented, some clock is escalated, or some other complication occurs .With Augus this is typically him learning more about Hix and advancing clocks. In this case I added a threat to the action where there normally wouldn’t have been one. I like that your enemies can help you out mechanically but still stay enemies that you have to guard yourself against.

The mess with Thena Hellyers looks to be fun. I may have had Thena be a bit too up front about her troubles, but I still think it will be a delicate balancing act. She doesn’t want to destroy her family and yet they are really haunting her like nobodies business.

Behind the scenes a whole bunch of clocks filled up during this session, which means that at the start of the next game, I’ve got all kinds of fun stuff to reveal about the Lampblacks and Red Sashes, the Path of Echoes, and the Foundation and the Sparkwrights. Yay for game mechanics that prevent me from having to sort all this business out on my own!

What could have improved

I thought I knew what was going to happen with Hix and Salia. I thought Salia was going to dump Hix and we’d see what Hix would do without her closest friend and vice purveyor. But that isn’t want happened at all, and in the end Hix was far more awful than I was expecting. This isn’t something we did callously, but it was really not what I expected.

What we produced is an abusive relationship where one member of it is gaslighting the other. On the surface, that isn’t something I want to include in our game without more discussion about it. I think we should look at tools like the x-card to ask how much, if any of this, we want to keep in the game. Alternately, we can include it in the game, but be really conscious and respectful of what’s happening. The focus of Blades can shift as needed. Sometimes it’s a heist game of high action, other times is a intrigue game of politics and crime, and sometimes it needs to be a drama about the human spirit. Making sure our treatment of this doesn’t glorify or normalize abuse is really important to me.

2 thoughts on “Actual Play – Deadbeats (9/28/2016)”

  1. This faction/clock advancing really seems to make the GM’s job easier and you’re really digging it. Looking forward to trying it some time!

    I’m so sorry the Hix/Salia ordeal was so troubling. I was also totally expecting Salia to break up with her; but then I rolled that crit sway. My intention was for Hix to be callous and usery, but I didn’t imagine her deliberately preying on Salia’s feelings. I know that the end result is Salia feeling like everything is her fault; and Hix letting that stand, or encouraging it, makes her an awful person. I do still like that their relationship has taken this turn. I like how it complicates things for Hix and develops her personality (albeit in an unpleasant direction). But yes, let’s touch base and re-adjust the next time it comes up.

    Favourite Bits:
    – Harland saying that ‘Life is short,’ and Elke following it up with ‘Doesn’t have to be.’
    – Harland labeling Cricket as an acquaintance; when being urged to do something about her situation.
    – Elke wears goggles in her workshop!
    – Elke asking for a handkerchief for her bloody ears and Harland, of course, always having one at the ready.
    – The development with Salia – though I appreciate the caution.

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