Actual Play – It all crumbles to ruin (5/15/2017)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark

“Time to blow some shit up and blame it on Scotsman Skovlanders.” “Let’s do some Rifts level Mega Damage.” “Your home planet needs you.”

The very short version of events:

  • The syndicate gathered in Tangletown, and Bazso Baz took hold of the reins. [Desperate situation. Bad Outcome. Much stress. New Trauma]
  • The Bloodletter came to pay tribute the Crows and once we had the gathered in the Crow’s Tower, used all those incredible munitions to blow the whole building, barely surviving ourselves.

Guns are like an erection. They are nice to have but pointless if you don’t use them for anything.” – Canter Haig… or maybe Adam Koebel.


Coin: 0 (but a fuckload of munitions)
Rep: 0 (we blamed it on the Skovlanders)
Heat: 0 (Heat held in escrow, to be determined based on what we do with the arms)
Entanglements: Unknown


Some time had passed so we opened up on the bottom of Scurlock Manor (the catacombs) literally filled to the brim with boxes of munitions. Canter is no longer allowed to smoke in the manor, but we put Oskarr’s Wierdos (the Adepts) in charge of watching over the explosives. We see a vignette of Cyclops dropping off the last box and then having to shimmy out of the room because there isn’t room to walk, then up some stairs past Bricks who was decked out in naval gear swinging a rifle around.

Arcy and Oskarr went through their adepts and determined that Talatha Slane was the one most capable of holding down office (Oskarr did this by interrogating them to find the best under pressure).

“Oskarr, your solution would be the most elegant.”
“Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s every said about me.”

Arcy rounded Talatha up and took her to Rolan Wott’s opulent office (filled with radiant energy plants and feinting couches) and together the three conspired to put her (Talatha) into office as City Council Adviser to the Spirit Wardens. [Long term project. 3/8 ticks].

Once the paperwork started, she also asked Rolan what files had come across his desk and asked him to squash them. [Reduce Heat]

[+1 Stress for not indulging her vice]

Canter visited Revka and told her he needed an outfit appropriate for blowing this up. Something that will make me look good at an explosion. Last look was goth necromancer look, this time she made him a costume evocative of Rail Jack attire, but customized to look like like dragons and beetles. She built a Jacob’s Ladder into the back to form the most baller of collars. [Indulge Vice and working on Long Term Project to make Revka into a friend]

Oskarr pulled some strings to build the Canter Haig home for Wayward Waifs. Oskarr and Anja held a party to raise funds for the orphanage. Anja encouraged the people to think of the children. Oskarr brought Frog, a big-eyed orphan child to open their wallets (thought he didn’t let them pick their pockets!). At the end of the party Anja presented a deed she had signed by a lord. [Long term project 7/8]. We also learned that Anja was very interested in the occult, fantasy adventure, and the opera.

Later we saw Oskarr as the Red Hand going to the underground spirit den and faced off against another whisper in a cage match to control an inhuman (deathlands) ghost and send it to destroy the other. The Red Hand vs. the Master of Chains. He not only enjoyed the match but also defeated his opponent [Indulge Vice. Crit!] Oskarr roared with victory!

Oskarr poured through his tombs in Scurlock Manor to see if he could learn how to give Setarra back a measure of free will and asked Seterra to aid him in understanding their new relationship [Gather information with Study. +1d for Setarra’s aid]. Oskarr apologized to Setarra for binding her and then sent to find a way to fix things. Unfortunately everything he read, and everything she told him led him to only one conclusion: She was now bound to his will [Bad Outcome].

[End of Downtime Actions. Heat reduced to 0 because of Cover Operation. Vice Den generated 6 coin. Arcy took 2 coin in her stash for Something on the Side]

Planning the Job

Downtime is over. Blow up time is on.  There was MUCH discussion about what to do with all the guns. Much!

After much debate we decided to call all the crews together (Bloodletters, Billhooks, Lampblacks, and the Grinders) to Tangletown to discuss the actions of the syndicate. Arcy did all she could to bring the syndicate together fast enough so they could still make the meeting with the crows [Consort. Partial Success. Angering the Syndicate 1/4]

Calling the Syndicate together in Tangletown

Tangletown is the hulk a leviathan hunter that beached here ages ago. The sunken part has been sealed up and pumped out so it can be used now. Dozens of other ships are attached as well and the form a history of Akorsi ship building, showing the different technologies and styles used over the years. The locals ran around it like there was nothing new but for those who don’t live there it’s a matter of constantly catching your balance.

We met in the galley of a old vessel, a large table in the center. We paid a few coin for the privilege of using the room and they were all smart enough not to ask questions why.

The opening started great. We greeted them all and made what we were offering clear. We’ve got the guns, the Crows have overstayed their welcome, let’s take the Docks and Crows Foot for ourselves [Risky consort. Full success]

And then came the sorrow

After some discussion around the table Arcy finally proposed the official formation of the new Crows Foot. We’d split the Crows turn, the Bloodletters would supply the drugs, and from now on, the Lampblacks, the Grinders, and the Billhooks would pay up to us. This is how it is going to be.

Or is it. [Desperate Group Command. We had 13 dice to roll among all of us and could get better than 3. Arcy filled up her stress and trauma’d out]. Arcy watched, helplessly and Bazso made a swift coup. He agreed the Crows had to go, but surely ad more experienced gang should be running the ward. And in one fell swoop, he took away everything she had for months for. Her hand moved instinctively to her sword but Cyclops stared her down, reminding her of the place we were in.

A glimmer of hope

Though Arcy was out, and Canter didn’t know what to do, Oskarr “The Red Hand” reminded Bazso about the war we fought together, and how after the fight all the Red Sashes territory was gobbled up by the Crows and the Lampblacks, despite the fact that the Bloodletters were the ones in their fighting, not the Crows. That turf they took, it was rightfully ours. [Resolve Resistance]

Bazso’s smile remained but his eyes hardened. If you want that turf, then that’s a discussion we’ll have after the Crows are gone, and it won’t be one we’ll have using words!

Well, it wasn’t the worst outcome for nothing. But a least Oskarr made it clear to everyone at the table that any beef we have with Bazso isn’t about the syndicate, and (hopefully) the Grinders and the Lampblacks will stay out of it.

The taller they are

The score started simply enough. We’ll hire a demolitions expert to plant bombs under the Crows Tower. When it’s time to pay our dues, we’ll walk to the top, carrying a chest, and then when Lyssa opens it up, she’ll fine a note saying that the Crows can fuck right the hell off, and we’ll blow up the tower with everyone inside it.

Of course there was one wrinkle, that we were all inside of it, but that is something for flashbacks and superhuman feats of strength to sort out.

The plan went about as well as expected. Some of the crows noticed something strange was going in, so not all of them were in the tower when it fell, but Lyssa was, and a good number of the others. Twelve stories tall, there is no way someone would survive that explosion, and then if they did, they couldn’t survive the fall.

Except Blades were born to do this sort of thing.

Canter had to stay close to Lyssa, the only way to ensure she didn’t get cold feed. So he was right by her side when the bomb went off!

We flashed back to the plan where Arcy spotted where the building would likely fall and the trajectory to jump onto a shorter building as they went down. She grabbed Canter and with demonic feat of strength, leapt from the falling building, threw a grappling hood to catch hold of a chimney and then swung onto the roof, sliding all the way across it and off the other edge, only holding on by her fingertips with Canter dangling below, both of then nearly dead from the explosion and the crash (Level 4 harm resisted to Level 3 to both)

Oskarr meanwhile, attuned to the ghost field, found the remains of the wall that once connected to the Crows Tower, and with his Ghost Key, stepped into the ghost field. Only the key didn’t quite make it through, and we ended with him staring at his adorable familiar through the ghost field as it sniffed playfully at the key, seeming to ignore his plea for help, just as a ghost kitty would!

More of this turbulence found here…

Bloodletters on Air

What Rocked

Well, we put a permanent hole in the side of Doskvol, that’s not something you see every day!

We also got to see what happens when someone stresses out in a social situation. I don’t think I did a perfect job, but watching Arcy freeze up, out of her element, was  pretty cool.

Stepping through a ghost door into the ghost ruins of Doskvol and getting stuck there? How rad is that.

The fight between Canter, Arcy, and Oskarr after the syndicate meeting was intense. All of us at our wits end. Knowing that even though the plan was terrible, we had to go through with it.

At the end, Canter, limping along to find Lyssa. He had to confirm that she was dead.

Canter’s “you’re not my dad” lines were so good. Part in, part out of character. All Canter!

What could have improved

I really wanted to find a way to trade away these bombs rather than using them. Because the whole “free Skov” play isn’t going to hold up now that we’ve used them in such a public display. Still, how cool is it that we blew up Crows Tower!

I was really torn about what trauma to take for Arcy. Obsessed seemed like a strong choice. She couldn’t get over what happened and would be consumed by becoming more like Bazso. But it wasn’t quite right, she was broken in that moment and lost her edge. Soft was the choice that really made sense but damn was it hard to take. It’s still hard to take. In fact, Arcy doesn’t need to take Obsessed because I did it for her. In the weeks that have followed that game I’ve been thinking about how Arcy could still be a leader of the crew, still command respect, but while having lost her edge. She’s always been the most sentimental of the group, but what now? What if she can’t get her gangs to follower her, what if she can’t pull the trigger? In vigilantes I wrote that Canter killed Arcy. Did I just author my own fate? We’ll have to find out next game I guess.

4 thoughts on “Actual Play – It all crumbles to ruin (5/15/2017)”

  1. I must say I truly enjoyed watching this series. Therefore I just wanted to ask if, after these many months, will it be continuing?

  2. Coming to this very late, and after obsessively listening to all the episodes in a frenzy over the course of a few weeks, i just wanted to say – wow.

    Thanks guys it has been a blast.

    I do hope that there is a reckoning one day.

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