Actual Play – Not quite dead, I call it an opportunity (5/12/2015)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.3

Yay, back in Duskwall. This AP report will be less detailed than the prior both because it isn’t intended to teach the new rules (they were still in development at the time and not released) and because your faithful actual play poster has waited almost a month and the details aren’t quite a fresh in his mind.


Six Towers Gang (revised)

Blades on Air

That said, if you want to see the entire session in all it’s glory, Jonh has it posted on his youtube channel:

Recap of last session

What does it mean to claim turf? How has our crew grown?

  1. We have hold (2), which puts us close to raising one tier
  2. We have a base of operations (the tattoo parlor) to pedal our drugs
  3. We have Cyclops an the Fine Thugs who will work as our muscle until they decide it’s better to be working for themselves.
  4. We also advanced some and acquired:
    1. Oskarr’s friend Quellin, the Witch. She specializes in converting leviathan blood into ectoplasm and compounds. So we can start refining the blood ourselves. She is doing the refining in her own place.

Impromptu recap of our long term goals

  • Arcy – Get back her ship and go Leviathan Hunting
  • Oskarr – Get all the magic trinkets he can muster
  • Canter – Fuck that shit, my only just will be to spend that money….

Effects of Leviathan Blood

What happens when you just serve raw leviathan blood to every junkie that shows up for it? It’s unknown and nobody was particularly worried about finding out before the sales begin.

Fortune Roll: 2 – Poor outcome.

Supply Chain

  • Harrington (the quartermaster of the Nightbreaker) delivers large batches via boat to Skurlock manner.
  • We store most of it there.
  • Every day, Arcy carries a pony key (a day’s worth) down to the shop.

A week later

The count has been right so far. No reprisals yet, or attention from the blue coats. But we also haven’t set up a front yet, so it’s just Canter’s ugly prison tats.

Arcy arrives with the key and catches Cyclops and one of his people carrying a body down stairs. Arcy stares him down and Cyclops, though he’s the kind of guy to hold a grudge, decides today isn’t the time.

Cyclops looks down sheepishly “It’s not our fault.”

Arcy asks “How many are down there?”

When he leads her down there are a pile of people down there, less than a dozen. Their skin has begun sloughing off and reveals black scales beneath. From the pile there is a tiny bit of moaning and movement. The old has been there almost as week… so they aren’t dead.

“Tonight we’re hauling these bodies out of here.”

A whisper problem

“We’ve got some not quite corpses that our product has been not quite killing.”

Oskarr has someone, a friend, who can help us refine the product so this doesn’t happen any more. We don’t want to lose customers when this gets out.

In the mean time Oskarr, has plans for the bodies.

Lets turn this setback into an opportunity

Canter suggests we make use of this, find someone who wants the bodies and sell them. We have some serious “what the fuck” conversations, but decide the damage is done and it’s better to sell the bodies then pay someone to dump them.

Oskrar goes and finds us a buyer. Has to make a decision about whether to sell to Satara (that will benefit him personally) or Scurlock (who actually has money)… and chooses the later.

His communication is in the form of a psychic dead drop to his ancestor.

Checking out the “product”

Oskarr Inspects the bodies, but on his way, notices the spirit memory of Arcy going to sea and leaving her husband behind… and then not coming back… and his loneliness.

And then suddenly he’s there, around the corner. Oskarr pulled down his spirit mask and looked around to the corner to see what he found. Julian Keel (Arcy’s husband) and several bodyguards dressed as though nobles, are in the streets looking for Arcy. They catch a glimpse of Oskarr watching them [John advanced the Keel alert clock]. Something is strange enough that they will come back here looking again. The don’t give him chance, but they talk among themselves and are suspicious.

How are these bodies?

Oskarr walked in and suddenly everyone else had something to do, like trimming their nails, or cleaning that corner over there. Anything to not draw the attention of the Whisper. Which worked fine as Oskarr didn’t care about them at all. He went downstairs, let his spirit mask climb on spider legs out of its pack and over his face, and looked at the bodies, and in doing so left his mark on them [Devil’s Bargain]

As he reaches out there is a something else there. Looking out into a yawning chasm and staring into the eye of the Leviathan. He pushed forward and made contact with the demon presence and gave it/them the command to follow. Oskcarr threw a coat on one of them, and it shambled forward. “It’ll do.”

Arcy trying to dissuade Canter

“I’ve seen what happens to people who come in contact with the Leviathans. They eyes rotted out, their arms turned to tentacles, their fingernails grew in both directions and burst out of their knuckles, bloody and black. We don’t want to mess with this. I know you want to get rich, but if we fuck with Leviathans, you won’t be worried about money, you’ll be worried about having teeth.”

“If I don’t have money, I can’t get a dentist. Besides, people gotta be responsible for their own choices. I’m not going to get high on this garbage…you leave your wallet in my house, it’s my wallet now.”

That was pretty much the gist of that conversation. [Mechanically Adam had the choice of deciding if canter could be swayed or if Arcy would have to escalate further. We all agreed that right now we were just bullshitting and something was going to have to actually happen before Canter would take Arcy seriously].

The work that is done in the meanwhile

As they talked, the were also working, getting their operation looking presentable and adding some actual security protocols to the mix.

  • Let’s deliver the drugs topically through the needles. You can get the tatt’s or the special tatts. We need need a space and talent [supply]
  • Let’s train our guys to cover our tracks, and prevent it from being so obvious [secure]

[Either of these options required spending a coin from our downtime]

Arcy and Canter call in Cyclops to go over the new protocols. “Cyclops, we need your help to make this run better.” [Giving him more responsibility and authority was our Devil’s Bargain].

At first Cyclops just didn’t get it. He listened but wasn’t comprehending. “Let’s tell it to you one more time…” [Poor roll, escalating from Controlled to Risky]

Arcy doesn’t have patience for this bullshit, but Canter convinces Arcy to take a softer touch and present this as an opportunity. “I know it’s complicated, but you can get it, you’re a smart man…” Canter re-establishes the hierarchy. [We have security now. Improved by quality].

Meeting Lord Skurlock…

…to sell him half demon duded in our basement.

When Oskarr returned, please as punch with himself for controlling this shambling thing (that wreaks of the dead sea), Canter refused to indulge him and acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary.

Arcy on the other has lots to say. “Don’t bring that thing in here. Don’t let it touch anything we’re touching.” Oskarr refutes that he needs to show off the merchandise, and as they start to argue, the floor starts rumbling a portcullis from downstairs opens slowly and shakes the entire building… Lord Scurlock is arriving.


Scurlock arrived in old school creeping fashion. Gas lanterns went out, wind swept through, doors creaked open, and then he was there, backlit by the fire.

Without breaking stride, he walked behind Canter (who was sitting in his chair) and stood behind him and looked to Oskarr to see what he had to offer. We showed him the “merchandise” and began to deal.

Acry told him what it was, where it came from, but Scurlock interrupted with the captain’s name “Strangford” and asks Arcy what she thinks he should do with them.

“Burn them.”

Canter jumped up, realized that Arcy was souring the deal, and cut her off “That sounds like a woman with no money in the bank.” He assures Scurlock that Arcy won’t be a problem…and that Canter will be responsible for Arcy [That was our Devil’s Bargain].

Canter pulls it off, and impresses himself upon Scurlock as a man in charge. Though he’s a daunting figure, Canter is unfazed when Scurlock shakes his hand. Word will spread that we’re doing work with him [The “Great Effect”, +2 Rep].

Arcy swallows her pride and shakes his hand as well, then Oskarr’s and slips away with the leviathan tainted creature in tow.

Closing line

Oskarr turns to Arcy just as Sculock leaves and mentions casually “oh yeah, your husband is looking for you.”


Rolling Heat – 0 Heat generated (for selling not quite dead things from our basement)

Development – 2 Coin (would have been more but we had some operational costs, giving Cyclops a raise and losing on sales while we moved the bodies)

Entanglement – Usual suspects. Bluecoats pick up someone who can rat us out. They made the mistake of picking up Marlane who hates the Bluecoats and is loyal to Arcy. Not only does she not talk, she gets the names and badge numbers of the guys looking into it. Sinda and Raif. They need to go down.

Thoughts on this game

What a fantastic time we had. I love this crew.

The resistance rolls in QS3 is are much smoother/faster than they were in QS2 and a appreciate the reduced number of rolls and the reduced wiff factor.

Some of the most powerful abilities are the ones that trigger off dice. For instance “Desperate” improving your result and subjecting you to danger is just all kinds of awesome.  Similarly having a quality bonus really make a big deal.

I dig that murder now automatically bumps up heat. You don’t do murder without someone noticing.

When we were beefing up the security (putting Cyclops in charge) and making a “downtime” move during the score, I’m glad there was a mechanical provision for that (spend a coin). That needs to be codified in the rules for sure so that when groups go into “Kingdom Building Mode” they have a cost but aren’t shut down completely.




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