GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattic, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark
Didn’t we just play two days ago? Yes we did. In fact this is our 37th session of Doskvol Spectral Society…we’re going to need to order more blades.
A bad night for Arquo
Excited and bewildered after meeting with Lady Slane, Arquo and Elke retired to her apartment. The shared a glass of sherry, comiserated over Harland’s bad fortune, but found some solace in knowing Hix would finally have a friend inside Ironhook. Then… nothing. Elke told Arquo she would see him in the morning to start work first thing, and he left her apartment, just as unsure of their relationship as he had ever been.
He went home, shared a good meal with his family and then retired, visions of Elke, or was it Setarra, floating through his mind.
Arquo woke coughing, bleary eyed and confused. Smoke. There was smoke all around, which meant fire was close behind. He covered his mouth and scanned his home to find his mother and father. Arcus was coughing terribly and trying to get his own bearings. Remira was in the bedroom (well, the room that wasn’t the kitchen/dining/common room) and batting away flames that were growing dangerous close to her.
Arquo, who had inhaled the ashen soot of the deathlands and seen through the miasma it created, was somewhat better prepared to work in these conditions than his parents. He first found Arquo and gave him is bearings. Sent him upstairs to exit the front door (remember: they living in a basement apartment). Arcus went up the stairs and tried to open the door but it wouldn’t budge. Something was blocking it on the other side.
Arquo raced into the bedroom just in time for a flaming beam to collapse behind him [Risky Prowl. Partial Success]. Unable to get her out through the front door, he broke the high window which led out into the street and hoisted Remira up through it, then climbed out himself. It was a blood affair, but of them cut up by the glass, but too filled with panic and adrenaline to care. [Risky Prowl. Partial Success].
Arquo ran around to the front of house with his mother where he found an old junk car propped up against the door. The two of them tried frantically to pull it away and help Arcus open the door but they were too late. As they pried at it Arcus’ pounding slowed and then stopped. He collapsed inside the burning building. [Desperate wreck. Bad outcome]. Arcus would have died if not for Arquo crashing back through one of the front windows, heaving his unconscious father up and out of the window and then climbing out himself, his new shadowcloak singed at the edges [Resisting fatal harm to his father with Prowess. Desperate Prowl roll to get him out. Partial success. Consequence, losing the cloack in the fire. Also resisted with Prowess. Final result was soon-to-be-fatal harm to his father and a singled cloak].
Quickly Arquo and Remira loaded Arcus into what was left of the cart and wheel him to Melvir’s place for emergency attention. The old physicker used ever balm, tonic, powder, ingestant, suppository, and plasmic oil he could to get his friend breathing again, and then coughing up an unholy amount of soot and smoke. His lungs were badly burned from the inside. There was nothing Merlvir could do but keep him cool, make him inhale soothing essences, and drink aloe. Whether Arucs would make it through the night was up to how much he wanted to live.
When he had done all he could for Arcus, Mevilr tended to Remira and Arquo’s wounds. Bandaging cuts, applying salves, and offering soothing tonics to help with their parched throats. [Two recover actions from Arquo. One for him and one for Arcus]. The candlelight flickered in Arquo’s dark eyes and we flashback to him outside his burning home, having just freed Arcus he scanned the area desperate to find some clue of who had done this and then he spotted a seal stamped on the cart, nearly concealed by the blackened burning wood, only discernibly because it was such a simple outline… that of a bee.
Inside the Hook
The golden bee had over the ironhook cell to years to scrape into the stone wall. Many shivs and sharpened spoons had been dulled or broken in the process, and applying the pigment took ages as well as the stone seemed to soak up the gold color into it’s recesses, so the stain had to be applied and re-applied many times.
Harland, still thought to be part of the family (news of his betrayal had not yet made it to Ironhook nor had Fletcher said anything to the others yet) was quickly raised above the other inmates and take to a jail cell with more creature comforts, including a sawbones that could see to his injuries. [Recovery action with the Devil’s Bargain that he was inside the jaws of the beast when they all found out about his betrayal].
Taking stock of the Society
Elke is missing.
Harland is in the Hook.
Arquo’s house was set on fire by the Hive.
The student patrol had been beat up by bruisers which attacked them out of no where.
Danwood would be expecting research to begin today.
Things were looking bad for the Spectral Society. As he had done before, when they were leaderless, Arquo took charge. He told everyone they were going to find Elke, but this time he was met with some resistance. Ro, the very pretty Iruvian duelist, and member of the student patrol spoke up. “Man, we’re all beat up and you want us to go looking for Elke? We’ve got bigger problems to deal with. Besides, can’t you tell. She’s just not that into you.”
The words hung in the air for a moment. Nobody wanted to respond. Ogre, Bazran, and Wester, all recently cowed by Arquo were not about to take sides and Arquo himself was taking this in. After a moment he repeated the command. The student patrol would go to her home and look for her there. Jadvyga and Ro (since he was making a stink about going to Elke’s place) would talk to Jadvyga’s friend Dermot in the Bluecoats, and Arquo would go hunt up any leads he could as well. Findings:
- Elke’s place had been cleared out completely. Bluecoats arrived and paid her rent up through the month and her landlord did not ask why (Student Patrol)
- Dermot knew this tactic, it’s what the Spirit Wardens do when they want someone gone without a fuss. It meant she was either dead, or worse, held in Bellweather, a place he was never going to step foot in (Jadvyga and Ro)
- Setarra was surprised to see Arquo so soon, but once he told her it was about Elke it all made sense. She knew the Salkaran family line and could tell Arquo that she was still alive. If he wanted to know more, she would require two bodies, still living. Perhaps he had enemies that he wanted to see suffer… (Arquo).
The rest of Downtime
We had already covered a few downtime actions above (recovery rolls mostly) but now we started working out the rest of them in earnest.
Ro trained both in Insight and Playbook advancement.
Jadvyga visited Dundridge and Sons to try on new clothes [Indulge Vice]
Arquo moved his family into Elke’s apartment (it was paid up through the month, and they needed a place to stay) [Indulge Vice]
The Student Patrol, though battered [weak] went about their duties at Charterhall, escorting people to their homes and such. [Reducing heat, thanks to All Hands]
Ro was introduced to Nyryx, not the ghost that everyone else knew and loved but the playboy figure that constantly had challenged Ro when wooing potential bedmates. [Ro took Nyryx as a rival, which is hilarious because Nyrxy is Elke’s bestie, both character played by Karen]. “No…not this guy!” And yet, to really be part of the crew, Ro needed to let a ghost ride him to 48 hours. Nyryx, who had been reserved about performing the rituals was more than happy to ride around in Ro for a couple of days!
Seeing Arquo thrust into the position of leadership again was great. He never intended to do more than some odd jobs here and there for Elke, now he’s leading her crew as they try to find her.
I love that I was able to offer such an easy offer from Setarra. Want more information? Just punish the people who hurt you. Arquo’s got the vengeful ability after all.
Ro’s introduction to the game with “Man, she’s just not that into you.” was great. Karen had been waiting for a good moment for her new character to appear and this was it. So good.
When Arquo visited Setarra and came back with the news he lied to the whole crew “If we give my informant two members of the Hive, they’ll trade that for more information about Elke.” Sure, it’s got a tinge of truth to it, enough to keep people off his back for a while, despite him seeming to always be warm these days.
What could have improved
I felt a little bad letting the PCs spend all this time to find out knowledge that the players already knew. The Spirit Wardens didn’t leave much of a trace though, so it makes sense that some level of effort is needed to know more. Just, eh, feels weird doing all these dark deeds for something you already know, and for something that Karen doesn’t really want any action taken on (i.e. she’s happy to be playing Ro for a while and doesn’t want any gung ho missions to save Elke).
It was funny how Elke’s disappearance and Harland’s arrest not only shocked the crew but also left me unsure of what to do. I was a little worried that we wouldn’t have any direction or scores to do. I should not have worried (I say having played the next session before writing this) but I did feel a bit out of sorts, like this game was just a recovery session for all of us.