GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark
It was just a damn entanglement — Unquiet Dead — and then it turned into so much more.
How it Started
Vey, who had been letting Ashlyn Scapa “try out” possession by riding in her spirit cocoon was in class with Jurisprudence Polonia Clelland when suddenly Scapa leapt from her and into Clelland. That ghost is a quick study!
The professor hardly had a moment to fight her off before the possession was complete, at which point she cancelled the rest of class (the students are used to weird stuff, but not that weird of stuff, so they were happy to comply) and left to begin plotting.
Terrified, Vey came to the Cat and Candle to tell Jadvgya, who went to a streetball game to tell the shirtless Ro about it, who said they really needed to tell Arquo about it, and as a crew, off the went! They knew who she was after, Judge Casslyn Mora, the man who had her caged in a spirit bottle and forced her (and other ghosts of lawyers) to act as his advisers for years. Also a retired judge who was very influential with Charterhall!
Judge Mora, your days are limited
Racing to intercept Clelland/Scapa they just managed to catch her coach before it arrived at Judge Mora’s estate. She had already procured an invitation for tea (as Clelland) and was going to exact her bloody vengeance shortly.
Arquo stepped into the street, stopped the goat drawn carriage, and Ro and Jadvyga quickly hopped in the car while Arquo kept the carriage driver busy. With some very tenuous negotiations they convinced Scapa to change her plan slightly and instead of killing Mora outright, they would just ruin his life. A plus for the Spectral Society, as they knew killing him would have significant backlash on the school.
Infiltrating Mora’s Compound
Tagging along with Polonia as unexpected law students, Ro, Jadvyga, and Arquo made it awkward enough for judge Mora to turn them away and gained entrance into his estate. Despite being in Charterhall he actually had significant grounds (rather than the cramped lots most buildings occupy) and around all the edges of it were electroplasmic powered radiant lamps which allowed him to grow some incredibly varieties of violets and orchids.
Jadvyga and Arquo kept Mora busy talking about his flowers while Ro slipped inside with Clelland/Scapa and went in search of something valuable in Mora’s personal study. What they found of course was his very eeire and very trapped mirror that contained a ghost door within it. They found this out by the mirror nearly consuming Ro’s arm (and possibly) more into itself. [Desperate Attune. Partial Success. Trap resisted].
Outside Jadvyga kept Mora busy talking about his flowers (he even gave her one of them) while Arquo surveyed the grounds and found a cellar door that led into the basement of the building where gardening supplies were stored. Unbeknownst to the groundskeepers, Arquo slipped a shiv into the cellar door so that it wouldn’t properly latch when closed and they could get back in through it later [Risky Survey. Critical success!]
Flattering the the Judge
Once Ro had silently conveyed to Jadvyga that Mora must have a ghost key on him, she then continued to flatter him, up to and including planting the misconception in this mind that she was fawning over him. To that extent they ended the meeting with Jadvyga giving Mora a kiss and filching the key hanging from his neck while she did it it! [Desperate Finesse. Devil’s Bargain to indulge his misconception that she was attracted to him. Full success].
And they were off… with plans to do more mischief soon.
Creeping in the Dark of Night
That night, agreeing that bringing professor Polonia Clelland (even just her body) would be a bad plan, Ro slipped her some trance powder so that she passed out and was then tied up and held in the private study of the Cat and Candle by Ogre. Scapa, free to glided at their side went with them as they snuck back onto judge Mora’s estate and into the cellar door that Arquo has left ajar. But not before…
Jadvyga, at Arquo’s request, concocted a systemic herbicide that would destroy all of Mora’s garden [Crafting. Tier IV Plant Poison. Side effects of her own nausea resisted].
The three scoundrels clung to the shadows of the Mora estate (thanks shadow silk cloaks) and slipped past the judge’s house servants and back into his study, where they used the Ghost Key to open the mirror (by again reaching their hand into it, but this time with the key) and revealing a hidden alcove with three spirit bottles (there was once four!), each of which contained a restless spirit. [Controlled Attune. Full Success]. Ro trying quickly grab the bottles without actually stepping into the alcove only barely noticed and stopped his small black book of calling cards from falling out of his pocket as he snatched up the spirit bottles [Risky Finesse. Partial Success. Leaving behind evidence resisted]
Mora’s prized possessions in hand, the Society slipped back out through the cellar but not before poisoning all of the judges plant feed and watering canisters, ensuring that his entire garden would soon be decimated [Fortune roll based on the strength of the poison resulted in a 6. All the plants would be destroyed once the contaminated feed and water was spread by the gardening staff]
Casslyn Mora [gracious, suspicious, fierce] is a retired judge and Charterhall University professor (he used to be dean of the Houses of Jurisprudence). During his active career Mora used the wisdom coerced from four fellow magistrates who he had trapped in spirit bottles to excel in his career. Now in retirement, most of his joy comes from cultivating his very rare radiant light grown garden and tormenting the ghosts he has trapped for his own amusement. Both of these pastimes are now of course, unavailable to him as the Society have stolen his spirits and destroyed his garden. He’ll have nothing left to do but practice his, not insubstantial, Whisper talents.
Since they never wanted to go in the alcove, nor did they particularly care, once they had stepped out of it and the mirror reformed they heard the spirit key clink to the ground on the other side. Not only did they steel his ghosts, they also made it impossible (or at the very lease very difficult) for Mora to get back into his secret chamber.
I had a lot of fun with Mora’s flowers. Jadvyga took some genuine interest in them and because of that he gave her one of them, including a flower to wear and a bulb, which now… is the only non-contaminated tulip bulb that exists from his garden! Also, Mora being both gracious and suspicious made for some fun opportunities. He grilled all of them about their studies and found them wanting, but when it was critical to put the charm on him (I believe it was a risky consort roll that they pushed up to getting standard effect, but I didn’t write it down in my notes) they pulled it off!
Holy shit… what do do with Clelland now? She already hates them (as she still believes they ransacked her home) and now one of them possessed her, and then they tied her up and left her alone with Ogre to watch over her. Holy crap.
Arquo. He had just become so… vicious! Oh yeah, and let’s also destroy his flowers. So mean. But it worked well to win points with Scapa. She wanted to kill him and the Society convinced her they could do worse by ruining his life. So far they’ve made some pretty good progress down that road!
I had a lot of fun with Ro’s arm getting pulled into the mirror… yes, I pulled that directly from the Matrix!
I love that what started as an entanglement turned into a whole score. The Society really does look after their own. They’ve won Scapa’s good will to be sure!
What could have improved
When Ro asked what was “of value” in the study I had that moment of “oh shit, I don’t know” but I did know he had a ghost door in the mirror, so I went directly to the mirror. I feel like I should have populated Mora’s study with more objects of art, curios, rare books, and of course, some of his flowers, but none of that came to me in the moment. A good reminder to either a) take some time to think on these things and/or b) look at charts and lists. They have good things on them (there is a good list of items on the buildings chart in John’s book!)