Actual Play – My Time in Ironhook (6/22/2016)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6

How did I do this? How did I roll a 6 again on the entanglement charts, when they were up to 6 heat? Arrest. Again!

So it fits right. Hix tried to pay off the Bluecoats and the Spirit Wardens but didn’t pay the full amount. Instead of the Warden getting a stack of coin, they got a possessed by one of the Coleburn ghosts and earned a painful mess of black boils all over their neck and shoulders exorcising it. Yeah…I guess we know who going away in chains this session!


After clearing out the Cat and Candle and selling off the ghosts to Flint, their friend the spirit trafficker. The Spectral Society took some much needed rest!

Elke reduced heat for the crew by causing it somewhere else! She convinced Nyryx to possess someone and catch an old abandoned on fire. It was a BIG fire [Reduce Heat]

She then went and swept up all the dead spiders from the Cat and Candle and inspected them for the mark of the Dimmer Sisters. She found a few and using the spectrology equipment from Morlan hall, discovered their nature (they contain a sliver of a soldier’s spirit essence, sate the soldier’s ghost, shave off a bit of it’s essence, and these spiders will serve you as sentries and spies, more on that in the 7/12/16 game) [Long Term project completed. Elke doesn’t have the “Rituals” special ability but since she encountered this one, I let her study it and learn just this one ritual as though she did by using a longer clock]

Harland finally attended one of his fabled seances. He could have gone to play with spirit essence with other acolytes, but was a good disciple! The one was a sermon given by Vond Kardera / Cricket. It was a story of a great naval battle between demons summoned by the Sorcerer King and the fleets of the empire. Vond herself stood at the massive iron prow of her ship, the North Star. She spoke of the Emperor’s sage wisdom and how he was alive before the cataclysm. [Indulge Vice].

Hix finally got around to doing her class project and helping Augus retrofit the lighting towers. What she toiled away with metallurgic experimentation, the department chair Una Farros, also a professor asked her about working on a project for her instead of Augus. She had something far more exciting than fixing up old towers. She was working on a way to use lighting to shield a person passing through the ghost field, allowing safe passage to all within the field. Working on her project, however, required many of the same materials that Augus’ project would… Of note, Una is the sponsor of Irilen as well. Perhaps because of this, perhaps because she was trying to show her loyalty to Augus, or perhaps just because lightning tunnels through the ghost field is just crazy talk, Hix turned her down and kept toiling away on her assigned project [Long term project]

After hours working on the lab, Hix retired to Salia’s apartment for a night of intoxication and fornication with some enthusiastic members of The Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh. As far as she knew, it was a harmless evening of indulgence. Her partner however, one Rothe Dunville, related to Lord Dunville, head of the Dunville School of Sea and Stars, woke up mortified. What if word got out, the scandal of a Dunville and an Rail Jack sleeping together…it would destroy him! [Devil’s Bargain while Indulging Vice].

Walking home after her night of delights, still stupefied by bloodneedle, Hix was completely unprepared when the masked warden lept from the shadows an lassoed a lighting hook around her throat. Once subdued from electrocution he hauled her off into the night!

Harland and Elke, went to post bail on Claive. His crime was a minor infraction, and a few chits dropped in the right pockets covered both his bail and disappearing the paperwork. However, when he was released from the Bluecoat holding cell he told them that he had seen Hix being hauled in by a Spirit Warden, and taken right to booking. She was heading for Ironhook! <shudder> [Reduce heat]

Knowing they needed to act fast, Elke got in touch with flit and arranged for him to acquire her the ghost of a lawyer. In this case Ms. Ashlyn Scapa, Esq. She was, until Flint arrange for to be stole, a ghost trapped in a spirit bottle and held by Professor Adric Breakiron, J.D., an active practitioner and lecturer in the Houses of Jurisprudence. Adric was very displeased when he returned home to gloat in front of all the former ghosts he had defeated and found that one of them was missing! [Acquire Asset, Fine lawyer’s ghost. Devil’s Bargain: Adric is looking for her!]

The Score

Magistrate Cornelius is a pious man. He accepts only government sanctioned bribes, he belongs to three secret societies and pays tithes to all of them. He visits The Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh in the evenings to disgorge himself of corrupted humors before returning to his family, and he has two legitimate children who both wish to hold office when they grow up. He also has several illegitimate offspring and has paid well to ensure they are never linked to his name. All in all, Cornelius is a model Doskvol citizen.

He was, therefore, extremely surprised when he exited the church sanctum to find Harland Younghusband and Elke Salkaran, dressed in their most magisterial garb, ready to dress him down for improper imprisonment of Hix Stromfass! Cornelius put her away without much thought in order to a return a favor owed to a spirit warden. He was not at all keen, therefore, on having the process brought under any great scrutiny (a point Scapa had reminded them to bring up). Harland first persuade him that Hix is just a good kid, and then that they have the backing of a lot of important academicians. [Devils bargain to bring Augus into the equation, and use him as a character reference]. Elke, carrying a stack of very incriminating looking papers and citing various statutes of Dokvol law (thanks again Scapa), then pressed and put his own reputation in jeopardy. Cornelius folded and sent orders to release Hix before she ever made it into Ironhook proper.

[Social Plan, though it could have been called a deception plan. Thought he was certainly ready for bribes and extortion (1d) and a higher tier (down to 0d), the advice they had from Scapa put them in a better place to counter his normal defenses (back up to 1d). Result was a 6, he wasn’t prepared at all!

I treated Cornelius as a six tick clock, and with each action, he would respond either as part of any consequences rolled, or by virtue of his own higher tier, learning about and or putting pressure on this newcomers. The scoundrels however resisted all of his attempts to gain leverage on them, and in the end all he had was the name Augus to back up the claim that Hix was a student in good standing at Charterhall University].

In chains and back out of them just as quickly!


  • Coin: 0 (they were making bribes rather than taking them!)
  • Rep: 1 (though Cornelius represents the magistrates, they did everything they could to keep him from talking about this with anyone, so the rep is based on his opinion of them, and outsiders seeing that the crew was all take care of rather than left to rot in the clink)
  • Heat: 2 (Smooth and quiet job vs. a well connected target)
  • Entanglements: Unquiet Dead (Now that Scapa is free, she has some unfinished business to attend to!)

What rocked

For being “students” the society sure does get itself in a lot of trouble. And everyone at the table was great rolling with one arrest falling right after the other!

I love that Augus keeps being brought in as collateral on loans, character reference for cases, and otherwise leaned on. If he was her friend, this would all be good stuff stuff. Lean on him and he’ll ask for you to support him in return. But as her enemy…yeah, this is going to turn into something awesome eventually.

The scandal of Roethe Dunville and The Duns should be delightful!

Those spiders are creepy. I wonder how many the Dimmer Sisters have?

What could have been improved

I was really tried this game. Just getting back from Origins and having taken my last blacksmithing class the night before, I’m just glad I stayed lucid throughout the game. I thank everyone for staying with me!

Because it was getting late we rushed the score a bit… and I think I might have drawn out that “rushing” process. We know we wanted to pressure Cornelius into letting Hix go, but do that first meant acquiring Scapa, rolling for engagement, and then a couple of actions to win him over. Late as it was, I probably just should have said we could do the score next session.


One thought on “Actual Play – My Time in Ironhook (6/22/2016)”

  1. Dude, great write-up! I love the extra details on Cornelius. And I am also excited to see the Dunville scandal play out.

    When Hix indulged in her vice (of pleasure) and you asked about what kind of scandal she was involved in I initially described a situation that was like bloodneedle-based beergoggles; she slept with someone less attractive than she thought and people would mock her for it. The more I thought about it though, the more uncomfortable that made me. I don’t know how bloodneedle works but it feels that if she’s so out of it she can’t really tell what a person looks like it, her ability to consent might be impaired. Thanks for letting me ret-con it, and thanks Karen for the way cooler idea we used instead!

    2.5 hours isn’t a lot of time to squeeze both downtime and a score in, but I’m glad we did! I think, because of the short time, we didn’t go into a ton of detail on eg Ashlyn and so she seemed less scary and ghosty. But -we’ve since cleared that up and she’s certainly causing problems for us now!

    Favourite Bits:
    Our sofa is inside our broken leviathan cage because it’s the only way to make them both fit. Plus: The sofa used to wobble.
    Elke’s giant monocle for spider studying, her stack of fancy papers that look official and her Mary Poppins outfit when dealing with Cornelius.

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