Actual Play – Stepping up to Scurlock (7/31/2015)

ghost_titleGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Steve Moore, Joe Lawrencelle, Michael Holmes, Alex Holmes, Eric Bontz, Eric Riggenbach
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: Scurlock Manor

My first time running Scurlock Manor, and for a very full crew. We had:

  • Samuel Swiftstrike, the ex-Severosi defender who was cast out for concealing his brother’s crimes.
  • Thunder, the tattooed Severosi bouncer. Kin to Samuel, they traveled to Akoros together to evade arrest.
  • The Spider, an Akoros thief catcher cast out of the Bluecoats for taking bribes. He used to catch deserters and send them to work outside the walls. Effectively a death sentence.
  • Silas Jag, a Tycherosi drug peddler who, at the behest of a wealthy patron Rosalind Kellis, has set up shop in Duskwall, often dipping into his own product for the supernal high it provides.
  • Skorn, the Skovlander tribesman who got out just before it was too late.
  • Ovadai, the whisper.

I think some of my favorite part of Blades is the character and crew creation. Because it gives me a chance to ask all sorts of fun questions, like, “so if you had just a good life before, what are you doing slumming it in Duskwall now?” or “how does your friend feel about that?” The questions invariably bring out the worst in the character and tell me something new about Duskwall and it’s inhabitants.

Gen Con Special

For Gen Con I decided to try out my new score sheet, Scurlock Manor.

One of the questions it asks is basically what just went wrong? The players have three choices: Lord Scurlock; vampire, Magical Enchantment, and It’s Alive! The score you captured is fighting back.

For this session the picked Lord Scurlock, a good choice. The follow up questions to that are “How does he outmatch you physically and magically?” and “What do you have to offer him?”  My intent here is that Scurlock is a Tier 3 faction all by himself. He doesn’t trifle with the likes of you. To enforce that though, I wanted to give them both a impossible wall and away around him (you don’t fight the 8000lb gorilla, you find away to give it bananas).

The players chose that he had unmatched strength and magical wards on his house to stop any who would try to channel or attune but himself. This was particularly fun when Silas Jag was lurking in the shadows and Scurlock was suddenly beside him whispering in his ear. As Silas used his shadow cloak to disappear in the shadows, he reappeared across the room, only find Scurlock’s cold fingers wrapped around his throat and lifting him with ease off the ground [Mechanically, he tried to prowl away as a Risky action, rolled a 1-3 result, and was put in a Desperate Gamble to get out]

As for a bargaining chip, the decided that Roric, the old head of the Crows, now dead by Lyssa’s hand, was Scurlock’s man in crows foot. The blades had information on Lyssa they could barter to help him regain his hold in Crows Foot.

I like it!

The plays the thing

In play the ended up not handing over Lyssa but instead convincing Scurlock that they were competent thieves (they had broken through his defenses after all) and that they would work for him. New clocks started as they had to both a) prove themselves to Scurlock and b) figure out what to say to Bazso Baz. Would he buy that they were “playing the long game” on the Scurlock?

Left to right: Silas Jag, Samel Swiftstrike, Skorn, Ovadai, The Spider, and Thunder

A note to Harper

As of version 3.0 effect level modifiers don’t seem to do anything if you roll a 1-3.  In this case Silas Jag rolled to prowl and had a fine quality item (shadow cloak) and potency (from his Lurk ability Ghost Echo, as we considered Scurlock’s attention supernatural by default). However, when he rolled a 3 and things went badly, I chose to put him a desperate position, but the player (understandably) wondered what his two effect level were good for in this instance.

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