Actual Play – Ending the Eels…again! (7/20/2016)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6

Times they are a changing

Time having passed after the fall of the Red Sashes, now we’re catching up with the changes in season two. (Specifically we’re stepping away from the moment to moment action and jumping forward to a new situation).

  1. The Red Sashes Dueling school had been remodeled by Roethe Kinclaith away from the old reds into the white, grey, and silver of the Kinclaith family. Some very tasteful pale white lights have been installed in place of the old open flames. We see Roethe training a student and giving him a cut across the cheek so he’ll remember not to make that mistake again.
  2. The pool behind the dojo has been remodeled in the Scurlock family decor, but its completely dry.
  3. Following the pipeworks and coming back up into the tattoo parlor we see that the pool there is also dry. Old, empty casks of oil are discarded against the wall.
  4. Above, a patron is getting a tattoo with standard (non-leviathan blood) tattoo.
  5. Our territory spans along the west edge of the Crows Food and the east side of the Docks.
  6. Street life has changed. Drug use is more active and sales are more prevalent.
  7. Small lightning barrier checkpoints have been erected by the Spirit Wardens to cordon off parts of the city. The Spirit Wardens have a badge in the river with one of their rookeries on top of it. A spider shaped hull clanks beside the barriers. Spirit Wardens watch the neighborhood but are turning a blind eye to the drug trade.
  8. Electric street lights reveal people taking a new drug called Spark, which causes blue electrical discharge when consumed. Using it is disruptive to the ghost field, annoying whispers in all directions.
  9. Two new games are operating here. The Grinders (factory workers from Skovlan) who once worked in Lockport. Rumor has it that they are seditionists but here and now they are peddling spark. On the Crows Foot side are the Billhooks, an extremely violent gang that works out of a butcher shop. They have allied with the Crows (Lyssa’s gang) and together they snatched up a lot of the Red Sashes turf.
  10. Harrington didn’t come back with the Nightbreaker. We’re out of Leviathan blood. We’ve got no action and that is driving traffic to our competitors.
  11. Oskarr has attempted to summon Setarra and it did not work. His link to her has been blocked, at least in all the places he’s tried to contact her.
  12. Side note: Linea is at sea on a hunt. Canter has been practicing love poetry.

Grinders outside our door

Cyclops has a grinder in our basement at knife point. Outside a group of Grinders and Bloodletters are standing off against each other, shouting threats back and forth. Two Bluecoats are watching idly to see where all this goes.

Derit, one of the Grinders that the others followed, was sizing up our forces and then noticed Canter as he entered the shop. Inside we discussed the plan.

“Quellen tells us we’re out of blood. No blood. No product. No product, no corners.”

“What’s going on Arcy?”

“We have two problems. We’re missing both our supply and our supplier.”

From there we’ve discussed what action to take next. Find out where our leak is, or get more supply? Arcy pushed hard for getting a direct supply from Strathmill but once Osckarr mentioned we might have a problem in our own organization, Canter obsessed over who might be leaking it. Our eyes turned on Cyclops because he was acting suspicious. Arcy turned on him but quickly realized that he felt responsible for losing the goods, but wasn’t involved.

Oskcarr attuned to the ghost field to see if the leviathan blood left behind a supernatural trail to where it went. Doing so, however, was harder than usual. There was powerful interference coming from the lightning towers and many eyes watching the area. He opened his mind just the same, but was caught by the Spirit Wardens…

Meanwhile, a scuffle outside breaks out and Canter sent Cyclops (a very annoyed Cyclops) to go put a wrap on it. Cyclops just laid into Derit.

In the ghost field, Osckar saw Silver (remember Silver, we thought she was trapped in a spirit bottle!?!?) leading a group of thieves into the tattoo parlor where they picked lock, snuck down, and drained our leviathan blood into the canals below. He felt the barometric pressure intensify but before they could find him, sent his familiar (yay, Oskarr’s familiar is alive) off to misdirect them.

The Eels have our product. They are probably working with someone else.

Discussion continued about whether we should go after the Eels or resupply. “This isn’t a problem we solve with gold, this is a problem we solve with steel.” And a bullet went through our window!

Outside Bluecoats Finn and Vey were arriving and everyone was beginning to draw their blades. An arrest was going to be made, someone was getting locked up. Handy that we had a Grinder at knife point downstairs to hand over! Arcy hauled him out and handed him over “This man’s been trespassing.”

Asserting our dominance

As the tension was difusing and people were putting weapons away, Canter walked over to Derit, very slowly, and intentionally crunching the broken glass beneath his feet, and told him “you owe me one window.” And then it the tension rocketed right back up again!

Arcy, who was about to hand over the Grinder pulled him back, by the neck, and wasn’t going to let him go until we saw what happened between Catner and Derit.

Derit first thought Canter was just another punk and then realized he was serous, and all of our reputation of brutal killers hit him full in the face.

Finn tiredly turns away with the the Grinder but Vey was watching us closely. She was not going to forget this! [Devil’s Bargain]

Finding the Eels

We started asking around about our product to see if any of our regulars had found it elsewhere, and word started spreading that we’re out of product [Devil’s Bargain, Starting a clock: Lose your customer base 1/4].

Information arrives, by way of our gang (since all of us rolled so terribly), who rounded up some of our usuals, one of which had gotten a fix in a house in the southern part of Crows Foot, near the Dimmer Sisters. They were doing some kind of experimentation…testing something out and giving it out to these few “lucky” ones.

In an odd moment…Oskarr asked Canter for a gun…who really didn’t feel comfortable putting one in his hand.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this scared of a gun in my life.” – Canter Haig, regarding Arcy giving Oskarr her pistol

The buildings are tall, four or five stories, many of which look abandoned even though they are in use. We know there is underground and above ground canal access.

“I, Arcy, are asking you [Okscarr] if you want to do ghost things and you’re, saying no? No?” – Arcy Keel, planning the raid with Osckarr

The plan: Leave our strike force in the Dimmer Sister’s home while we infiltrate the Eels via the underground canals.

Our take on the dimmer sisters: Nobody knows how many there are, they never leave their home, they hold seances and aren’t “bad” people, but nobody messes with them. They greeted us warmly at the dock but wouldn’t stand for our gang tromping any mud into the house.


We rolled a mixed outcome…and John, using one of his bad ass GM moves, used that as an opportunity to reveal something that he had in mind. What the Eels had up there sleeve. Really, this is best viewed in action. Check out Part 2, at 29:49.

It’s tougher than it seems – John knows something that the Eels are doing… and now we find out. They’ve got a secret…

But first, our load out. Arcy has stitched metal plates into her heavy coat. Cyclops has a unity war helmet, Osckarr has his hand made lightning hook! [Heavy load]

We arrive with a bang, kick the door open and enter a large basement that used to be filled with casks but now had been cleared out and in it’s place there were low bunk beds. Laying flat in them, in tight fitting Eeel uniforms were a dozen hollows. Soulless creatures, their skin tight against the bone!

Arcy, sent the crew to fight cautiously, surround the Hollows, boxing them in so Canter had a clear shot to light them up with electroplasmic ammunition! [Setup action to grant potency, and to move quickly up the stairs].

Canter, ready for action shed his subterfuge coat to reveal his battle coat beneath it, covered in pistols with quick releases! He leapt up on a palette to mow through all of the hollows beneath him. Or that was the intention [Desperate roll, result is a 3]. He shot into the crowd, but once the first one was hit by electroplasm, they all swarmed him and it looked to be a massacre [Level 4, Fatal Harm], but our scoundrels are a plucky lot! Oskcarr commanded them to hold [Protecting a teammate], Canter dodged and twisted, firing a shot through them [Resisting], and taking one on his armored plate [Armor]. He popped up through the mess, breathing in a huge gust of air!

Storming the Eel’s Lair

Charging up the stairs before they could react, Cyclops, Arcy, and the rest of their small crew surprised the Eels who were working away at some kind of distillery!

Since we had the element of surprise, Arcy sent her guys to capture, rather the murder all of these Eels, knowing that any who made it onto the street would be gunned down by the crew that were waiting in the Dimmer Sister’s house across the street. And the first one they captured, one that Cyclops was tussling with, was dressed like a Lampblack!

Scrapping top and bottom

Canter, blasting away at the Hollows kept them busy [Desperate action, limited effect], bought Oskcarr time [Setup action] to weave a threaded needle around all of them, then plunge the needle into his own thumb and command them to “sleep!” [Desperate action using the Compel them all to sleep, Devils bargain (for great effect) that the person animating them senses this disruption]. As he closed the thread tighter and tighter around them, one of the hollows reached out in his death throws to choke Oskcarr out! He pulled out the pistol and blasted it’s hand off, then rubbed the mystically enchanted armor around his throat [Negating 3 harm with resistance and both ticks off heavy armor].

Above, Arcy and crew chased down the Eels [Desperate action because this is their strong suit, but great effect due to our numbers]. We pinned then down, caught them all except the final one who made to the top of the roof and when Arcy caught him, tumbled and rolled both of them off the fifth story roof! Though they fell five stories, they did it level by level (lots of oof sound effects!). [Level 3 Harm resisted with armor, resistance, and battleborn]. At the bottom our crew put a blade to his throat and then watched as Arcy stood, unphased by a five story fall.


Oskarr found the distillery and first thought they may be alchemical geniuses realized that they had no fucking idea what they were doing. With the Blue Coats coming soon we scrambled to recover our product and clean up this mess as much as we could!

Arcy had the gang round up the bodies and started dragging them all in the house to make it look like an internal conflict!

Osckarr used Tempest to cool the cooked batch of leviathan blood so we could transport it quickly.

As the wind starts picking up Canter said “No, use your words Oskarr” as the Tempest began.

The lights in the room grew brighter and Oskarr’s shadow tilted in the wrong direction and a small cat crept out from behind it. Oscar’s mask, which has always had a closed eye, opens revealing a cat eye, and the cat’s third eye opens and reveals itself it be a human eye. [Oskarr sent one stress to himself and one to the familiar]. And the temperature drooped!

“Hey a kitty!” Canter, before he sees the third eye “Oh, it’s the wierd kind of Kitty. Fine! I’ll be outside with the normal people.” – Canter as he meet’s Oskarr’s familiar.

Canter, outside found the Lampblack with two of his fingers missing, sitting on the curb. “Oh fuck this”…and he almost blew him away right there, if not for Arcy reminding him that we’ll get no information out of him dead. “You and me, motherfucker, you and me!” Canter eyed him and backed away slowly.

He then went to shoo away any citizens that walked by and were lingering.

“My word” – John, as Duskwall citizens offended by the sight of blood and Canter’s aggression.

Arcy got the guys inside the house just in time for the Bluecoat’s truncheon rapping on the door. It was a polite rap on the door saying “I know you’re in there, open up so things don’t have to get ugly.”

Covering up one mess…and revealing another one

Canter went outside to greet the Bluecoat… intending to diffuse the situation. But ended up flirting with the officer… trying to impress her, then trying to get a date with her (She was Irruvian and reminded him of Linnea), and then revealed that yes, the Red Sashes ran into the Bloodletters, and now there Red Sashes no more!

“What seems to be the problem here?” – The Bluecoat ritual phrase.

She recognized Canter by all the collars on his coat…which he assumed means she’s heard that he is an excellent lover and amazing person.

“I wouldn’t want you to put me in your log either, but maybe you have some other place you could put me where I could cause trouble.” – Canter, when trying to bribe/seduce an Irruvian Bluecoat.

She rebuffed him however, because he was already connected with Linnea…and that’s when it went back to being a cop and criminal, but she wanted a favor. A little information. Anything we might know about the Red Sashes, to help her out. Unable to resist bragging.

“You know now that I think about it. I do remember hearing something about them. They got in the way of the Bloodletters. Sorry, look at the time, I’ve gotta go.” – Canter going from full on flirt, to full on psychopath.

Bloodletters Represent at Go Play Northwest

2016-07-09 17.20.07

Blades on Air


Coin: 2 (taking our blood back and taking the loose items from the Eels)
Rep: 3 (1 for this job against the Eels, 2 for confessing to the Red Sashes elimination)
Heat: 2 (From the Devil’s Bargain)
Entanglements: Reprisals (fun for next time)

What rocked

Establishing the their are lightning fields that people can be pushed through and their bodies protected but any spirits attached will be ripped away. The process isn’t safe and sometime fried chicken comes out the other side.

The reveal of Oskarr’s familiar. They are unnerving, like ghost, with their presence. A cute kitty…with a third human eye. A part of Oskarr’s humanity…that is now a cat.

The amazing blazing blue fight that went so crazy downstairs and turned so ugly! I thought for sure Canter would just waste them, but what a turn we took!

Canter, unable to resist bragging and telling a Bluecoat that we took out the Red Sashes! Gave us 2 Rep and 2 XP! John telling us to take everything we can for it…because we’re going to pay for it soon.

Updated sheets on Roll20! Thanks sheet makers!

The conflict over whether we should go after Strangford was so good. Arcy wants him, and she wants him bad! She’s trying to sell her gang that he’s profitable for us, but in truth, she just wants to her him.

Oskarr, scrapping with the rest of us. So good!

“I wonder if we can put all the bodies in a wheelbarrow…and have the lampblack wheel the back.” – Oskarr, pondering how we’ll make a point.

John moving time forward and giving us a new set of trouble. Having a new season with new problems meant that we’re scrambling again…just where we should be.

I can’t wait to see what Canter does with the Lampblacks…should be some fucking gnarly stuff there.

Stras posted his new Playset: Scum and Villainy!

What could have improved

I keep getting Strathmill and Strangford mixed up!

We keep talking about hawking and we keep ending up doing other stuff. We’re Cultists, we’re Breakers, someday we’ll be Hawkers again!

We got really hung up in the beginning planning our score. John addresses how we stopped playing Blades for a bit when we as players started shooting down our potential plan in this video. Stras and I talked about it after game and my big concern was pushing too hard as a player and making it all about my character’s story. I have been unburdened of that fear and will be pushing VERY hard for what Arcy wants next session!

3 thoughts on “Actual Play – Ending the Eels…again! (7/20/2016)”

  1. I always love these write-ups; they are a good read and your ‘What Rocked’ and ‘What could have improved’ sections have been very helpful for me as I get my first game gming BitD going (First session tonight!).

    I’m glad John commented on it when the group got snagged on planning. The way he phrased it, something a long the lines of “Do what excites you and sounds cool, don’t worry about it being the best or most practical plan, anythings ‘possible’ depending on how you roll” was a good reminder for me as a gm to emphasize to the players as we get started tonight to not treat this game as Shadowrun.

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