Actual Play – Functional Murder Fashion (6/8/2016)

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

Advanced GM Moves

“Imagine something cool” – A GM move available for the high end backers.

Payoff and fallout from last session

Arcy retroactively acquired two stress and Trauma accordingly. She is now cold.

New Claim: Cover Operation (dueling school)
Coin: 12 Coin (raiding the Sashes’ coffers), -3 (paid to the Lampblacks).

  • Paying Baszo off however, could have revealed our reasons for holding out on him… that we know he’s on our list of gangs we’ve got to eventually take down, but Canter

Rep: 0 (nobody knows we did it)
Status: +2 with Lampblacks, -1 with Iruvian Consolate, -1 with Forgotten Gods
Heat: 4 (Nobody knows exactly what happened but there is a vibe that something happened. Wasn’t there a war going on?
A whisper and maybe some other red sashes made it out alive…if they were smart enough to bolt early!

Gang Trouble: Our gangs destroy and Irruvian shrine because it looked like a Red Sash, got into a fight, and killed an Irruvian at a bar.

Offering bodies to Setarra

As part of the disposal process, to rid ourselves of bodies before ghosts rose out of them, we began offering the infected dead (which was most of them) to Setarra via the pool. Those that didn’t make the mark, we hauled off for incineration.

However, Arcy had a reason to hold back, at least briefly, to ensure that Setarra would come to them and she would have a chance to speak with the demon. Oskarr, perhaps much wiser in the ways of consorting with demons, strong, strongly, cautioned against Arcy trying to use the bodies as leverage.

“The moment you think you have leverage on a demon is when you’ve already lost.”Oskarr Scurlock, binder to Setarra.

Rumors abound

Something happened to the Spirit Wardens…what was it? [John hadn’t make the fortune roll to find out how they did yet. Setarra vs. the Spirit Wardens. We rolled in session…not good for the Wardens]. What we hear from our own guys.

The rookery, the spirit warden’s armored carriage is torn all to pieces. The bodies of the spirit wardens were flayed and hung up on lamp posts all over the docks. Horrible noises were heard. Rumors were about about a thousand ghosts coming out of the sea or other horrors happening.

There is a terrible vibe in the docks that the hammer is going to come down. The Spirit Wardens never get hit like this…they are going to hit back hard!

Handling our Entanglements

Gang Trouble – One of the gang members causes problems because of one of their flaws. In this case, savagery, sent in the wrong direction toward the Iruvian Consulate.

“People need to know why we’re murdering other people.” – Canter Haig, on why our rep matters.

We decided we were going to punish the offender, but Arcy gave a lot of push back. She was going to be the tool that delivered the punishment, but she really wanted to know how we decided who was going to get punished. She eventually agreed, but seeing her push back, Oskarr doubled down that this was all people respecting us, and us standing together. Arcy went form reluctantly enforcing our rule to walking in with purpose.

“Maybe instead of beating her up, we should just throw her in the corpse toilet for a while.” Canter, on punishment.

Arcy took Cricket out to drink at the bar where she killed a guy, and in the middle of a friendly drink, suddenly started asking her what the fuck she was thinking, and when she paused, smashed her head down through her shot glass, into the bar, and cracked the wood beneath it.



Arcy made contact with Setarra by holding a body over the water and waiting for her to come for it. When Setarra arrived she took hold of the body and made it clear she could simply take it from Arcy if she wanted to.

Arcy in turn, asked for the name of the demon that Strathmill made a pact with, and told her that she knew Oskarr had her bound, and we could simply take the information from her if we wanted to! She felt a fear but also a thrill at Setarra’s appearance.

Oskarr had a chance to step back and leave Arcy on her own, but decided to stand by her side and put the pressure on Setarra, which worked!

“You look deep into the bottomless dark pools of her black eyes…you feel this overwhelming urge… and you get a vision”

The vision was awesome. John is amazing. I can’t even capture it with words. Check out part 2 (below), at the 43:20 mark!

Tyraxus, a Radiant Being, too bright to look at, which infuses metal ship with lightning, bound to the Nightbreaker. A creature that Setarra is filled with murderous hatred for this thing.

Emperor Haig

With his new boon companion Rothe, Canter began interviewing personal tailors. “I need a sartorial henchman, and I need one now.” – Canter.

Canter’s fashion sense is moving away from rakish though to delusions of grandeur! [A six tick clock to get a personal tailor. Another six tick clock to make him a close contact.]

With Oskarr’s help (who recruited Anya) they invited prospective tailors to a soiree to show off their wares, where Canter and Rothe reviewed their work!

“Before we can be truly fashionable, we first have to be more outrageous.” – Canter, describing his ideal attempt.

First attempt:  Everyone in the fashion community is rejected one at a time! They are avant garde but they aren’t crazy enough.  [1/6 ticks]
Second attempt: Second attempt. Just as someone was going to sign up, they realized how crazy Canter is [2/6 ticks]


To silence the Deathseeker crows and the bells of the Crematorium – What is it’s effect and how is it weird? Effect is self explanatory.  You have to vomit forth ectoplasmic crows that that take the place of the Deathseeker Crows. To perform, you must capture a Deathseeker crow and sacrifice it. The price is that every death that is absorbed must be relived by the ritual performer. The price is paid to the Deathseeker crows. This instills a new behavior, moving like a crow (perching on the edge of seats, picking at shiny objects).

To bind a familiar, a beast or creature, that can speak to it’s master, and absorb some of the mystical brunt [stress] for the practitioner. Pre-cataclysm witchcraft! You need to find an example of this creature that lives in the deathlands. All of nature was destroyed during the cataclysm but a few special instances of these creatures exist. They survive by being partly spirit and partly physical. The price? A portion of your life, cutting away part of your humanity, paid to the creature [1 trauma]. A new belief or knowledge: Understanding that most truly power mystics are not fully human. For a whisper to be truly effective they can’t stay clean because it’s just too expensive.

“Do you remember when dark magic was really dark? Scurlock Farms remembers.” – Scurlock family slogan?

First attempt: Attuning by looking through the electroplasmic field and then, channelling it’s energy, began to walk through to experiment how close the ghosts are  [1/8 ticks]

Second attempt: Kitted out in deathseeker garb and charms. Protected by a shark cage of lighting and there are masses of ghosts all clustered around and into the fine dust and ash. Outside, surrounded by ghosts and looking out into the darkness, Oskarr saw something far outside the city, glowing eyes, that look at him and then dart away [2/8 ticks]

Third attempt: Hiring a gang of deathlands scavengers. A chain gang goes out, protected by whispers. The first few to make it out are swarmed, possessed, but a few of them make it past. And after the first few hundred yards the density of spirits decreases. It’s still dangerous, but possible to survive if protected and wary [7/8 ticks]

Fourth attempt: Covering wicker dolls in life essence to act as decoys, Oskarr roves out, past the ghosts and binds his familiar! [8/8 ticks!]

Oskarr’s indulgence…Arcy’s education

When Oskarr was going to go out, Arcy tagged along, and did so asking many pointed questions about demons. Oskarr let her come with him, not so much for her education, but because he was please that she had crossed over to the life of a criminal, and maybe a little be that she was taking interest in the occult, he let her come along.

And of course, when you go to the part of town full of reconciled ghosts, the possessed, and spirits of other sorts, Oskarr fit right in and Arcy stood out like a sore thumb. She would have been fresh meat to all these strangers…if they couldn’t see Setarra’s mark on her. [Resolve training for Arcy. Vice recovery for Oskarr]


Oskarr talked and talked and talked.

“All you’ve gotta do is be possessed for a couple of hours. It’s like sleeping but you remember it.” – Oskarr Scurlock, on gaining knowledge.

On the walk home Oskarr turned and looked to Arcy, and saw her stab him through the throat…reliving one of the deaths from the Red Sashes.


Oskarr’s burnt hand finally healed…. still burning in the ghost field.

Reduce Heat

Larose disappeared some paperwork to slow down the Spirit Warden investigation. [Heat reduced from 5 to 3]

Wedding preparation

We found out the contents of the Iruvian Cameo had a painting of a handsome and daring Iruvian man, which Canter quickly pried out and threw away.

Canter visited Petra, his friend the city clerk, and asked about how one goes about getting married and what the marital status of captain whatsherface.  Petra was surprised to find out Canter was investigating that Linea and he rubbed it in slightly as they poured over the books together. Canter found her Letter of Mark to work out of the cities in Akkoros. The first mark, seven years ago, indicated that she was married. The renewed mark, listed her as single [4 of 8 ticks].

Also of note that in her very first trip up north, Mylera Klev was with her, and Mylera’s documents showed that she was exiled from Iruvia!


Canter did some playbook training to fill in his last dot.

Blades on Air


What Rocked

The tension between our crew about what to do with Cricket was phenomenal. I loved seeing us all have to really be overt about our motivations and desire.

The punishment was rather rewarding as well. It was a chance to bring our new recruits up to speed about what happens when you step out of line. Lesson learned “Arcy will fuck your shit up.”

If you’re drinking with the Bloodletters you never put your drink down as someone might smash your head into it.  – A new tradition formed.

I only caught this in the re-watching of it but I just love that the ship called the Nightbreaker, is infused with the power of a radiant being, who is hated by Setarra a demon of darkness.

Functional Murder Fashion!

So many good lines from Adam and Stras this session. I tried to capture most of them as quotes above.

I almost called this game session “Arcy goes cold” but then thought that was being just a tad too narcissistic. Still, it was great playing up Arcy’s trauma and watching it get deeper and deeper into a life she wants to break free from.

What could have improved

After the game, and then in some email follow up as well we talked about the direction of the game, and that if it goes all supernatural, all the time, there really won’t be a place for Canter in it. We’ve got to remember that this game started, and is about, drug dealers. That is Canter’s home and it’s the place we want to live in too!

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