Actual Play – The Schism of Echoes (10/4/2016)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.7

Doskvol – Season 2

As the DSS had just completed downtime and several other faction clocks had completed, we decided to fast forward a month where they DSS had a strong hold over their new claims, new business opportunities arose, and the city kept churning.

The war between the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes reached a crescendo, the Path of Echoes were holding a trial for a captured Dimmer Sister for her crimes against the un-living, and infighting between professors at Sparkwright Tower had escalated to the point of public debate!

 Stay Clear of Crows Foot

Notices were posted on the walls of Charterhall Academy that due to recent explosions in Crow’s Foot students were warned to stay clear of the district. (Read: The war between the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes has reached it peak!)

Sparks flying from Sparkwright Tower

In the middle of the night Hix felt something in her arm. A terrible pang and agony that lasted more than a minute and then nothing. It was numb as though the life had been snuffed out of it. In time, over the next hour, feeling returned and she felt normal again. Normal enough.

The next day, however, she found out there was a terrible disaster during the night. A lightning tower (her lightning tower) had flickered off and a storm of ghosts had flooded into the city. It was only out for over a minute (105 seconds exactly) but in that time dozens, perhaps hundreds of ghosts entered the city and attacked the residents of Dunslough with an unknown fury. All available Spirit Wardens were dispatched as well as the Rail Jacks at Gaddoc Rail Station to contain the breach.

Hix arrived at her Electropasm and Magnetism class late to find her mentor Augus Mendelson and his chair Una Farros in a screaming match about what happened. Augus accusing Una of sabatouging his tower and Una accusing Augus of incompetence. Hix turned-tale and walk right out of that class, unlikely that she’d learn anything that day anyway.

Respectable Ghosts Summoned to Stand Trial

Ashlyn Scapa, Attorney of the dead, was asked among other respectable peers, to sit on council to judge the innocence or guilt of one of the Dimmer Sisters, who was charged with the unlawful imprisonment and trafficking of Akorosi spirits. Scapa, given the approval of her crew, consented to be in the trial and be part of the jury. The rest of the DSS did not attend.

Downtime continued

As news of the other factions activities began filtering to the Spectral Society leaders, they realized there was more work to be done. Cue the spending of coin and rep!

Elke, savvy to the nationalism of the Path of Echoes, and still wanting a cadre of undead attendants started asking around for ghosts that didn’t make the cut. Non-Akorosi who the Path didn’t find worthy. Harland, who was connected with Vond’s recruitment seemed like the best place to start, so she sent him ask around for them…

Which he did by asking Vond for the spirits that she thought were untrue and then he promised to go hunt down and destroy these defectors for her! Vond, eager to root out any sedition sent Harland with a last if names and her strong support. However this same faith she placed in Harland because to sew the seeds of suspicion in her as well [Inquisition to find the unfaithful 1/4 ticks].

Harland tracked down Cavelle, a Severosi spirit (loud, cunning, feeds on chaos) and began soliciting him to join the Spectral Society. The meeting was going well, until he heard the scrape of a boot on cobblestones behind him and realized that he was being observed. Harland turned, lunged into the shadows, and grabbed hold of Geraldine Winthrop, assistant to Skinner (Vond’s attendant).

She struggled to break free but he held her fast and, with little time to think, told her that Vond was weak and had to be taken down. Harland would be the new Hierophant of the Path of Echoes soon and if Geraldine sided with him, she could rule with him! [A desperate action if I ever saw one!] Geraldine, not the most loyal by nature appraised Harland’s offer and decided that she could gain form it either way. Should Harland win, she would gain prominent position. If he failed, she would disavow him and be the first to bring his broken body back to Vond for punishment. Plus, it seemed like if she said no right now, he might snap her neck.

“When life gives you lemons, cut the lemon in half and say the other half is false and turn against it!” – Harland, on starting a schism.

Geraldine rubbed her sore throat and and nodded “Yes, you will be the next Hierophant and you will make me the Master of Secrets!”  (a role, unlike the Hierophant, that is currently occupied, yikes!)

Eventually, however the defectors were rounded up and Elke had a new cadre of ghosts at her disposal [Longest acquire asset roll ever].

Spiritual Services Needed

With the Dimmer Sisters missing, all of their clients were at a loss for their spectral services. Some of them went to mystery cults in the Church of Ecstasy, some went to small spirit wells where Path of Echoes adherents worshiped, some called on their corner essence traffickers, but many, because of their reputation, came to the Cat & Candle to ask the Spectral Society to exorcise a ghost, fill them up on Dream Essence, or compel their undead relatives to behave like civilized flatmates.

Elke said she would help out any who were really in need but addicts who sought a high off essences, in fact any one who wanted an essence (which we’ve defined as piece of a ghost that has been carved off) would not be served. Ghosts in need would be helped, those causing trouble destroyed, but none would be mistreated!

A new patron you say…

Andrel Rowan, the unharmed of the deadbeat pair told the crew that the ledger he carried had been confiscated by a faculty member, but due to it’s nature, he wasn’t sure if they still had it or not.

During their meeting with Professor Hellyers the DSS also noticed that she shared about three square feet of her spacious office with a frail old figure who kept his hand scribbled notes in neat stacks which were piled high in his desk, or what little of the desk he still claimed.

Believing they could butter up this pushover, the Society approached Professor Andris Oilweather, scholar of Imperial Anthropology, and asked him if they could bend his ear.

Initially gracious to see young students but clearly more interested in returning to his work than carrying on conversation, Elke got Oilweather’s attention by blurting out that Hix may soon be in need of a new sponser, and that she was very fond of History. Hix followed up on the lie by quoting some bits she remembered from Vond talking about the first Unity Wars and quickly the old man was enamored!

He let slip that Polonia Clelland, of the houses of Jurisprudence, had confiscated the ledger and was holding onto it until it could be returned to the rightful hands of Captain Strangford.

The scoundrels watched her house till she left, broke in, tossed the place (to make it looks like a normal robbery), grabbed the captains ledger (which they were disappointed to find was written in a cipher) and made it out before Rowan (who only came because he could identify the book) could alert the Bluecoats (which he seemed to be trying to do with is his careless and vengeful demeanor)!


Coin: 5 (this was originally a 10 coin job but the first half had already been paid)
Rep: 0 (nobody was told where the book came from and the theft looked like a robbery)
Heat: 3 (smooth and contained, against a high profile target)
Entanglements: The Usual Suspects

Cross, unexpected

Returning from the spoils, delighted the job went as well as it did, and that they got paid, the Society returned to the Cat and Candle to find Cross, of the Lampblacks waiting for them.

“The time is now. We need your help. Will you fight beside us?” Cross, believing the Harland was the military leader that defeated the Dimmer Sisters (which is at least partially true) and that he commanded several of the Path of Echoe’s forces (also, at least a little true) can to see if they could help them in their final showdown [Both the Lampblacks and the Red Sashes filled up their respective clocks to destroy the other gang and rather than just say they were mutually annihilated, I decided to bring it down to a final confrontation that the Society could affect one way or the other]

What Rocked

Holy hand grenades of Electroplasm Harland! He’s the kind of guy that falls down a whole and just keeps digging deeper. I can’t wait to see if, scratch that, how, this whole thing explodes. It’s going to be a fireworks show for sure! All because they wanted to acquire some ghost assets!

How quickly Hix will turn when the opportunity presents itself. I thought for sure she’d balk at Elke’s suggestion that Oilweather might be her new sponsor but she jumped right on board. Goes to show what I know!

I love that Elke has established some standards for what kind of spirit trade they will deal in. Trying to be ethical in the field of spectrology is a new one for Dosovol!

What could have improved

I fell down a bit on this score. I meant to foreshadow that there is a lot more going on here. A leviathan hunter captain’s journal being stolen isn’t a small infraction, nor is it something that will be missed. +1 Heat for a high profile target doesn’t really capture the significance of this theft. In my mind, this is by it’s nature a two part score. First doing the job (easy enough) and then dealing with the repercussions, which again I don’t think I hinted at all that well.

1 Comment

  1. Adrienne

    This was such a great cliffhanger! (And score, in my opinion. Looking forward to more fallout in the future!) I also adored Harland becoming the new Hierophant. It’s like the best thing. (Also that PoE folks have fancy ritualistic spirit-masks.)

    Elke’s handing over Hix’ allegiance to Oilweather! So good! (Another example of me taking liberties with Hix because of my own inclination. I was so tickled with Karen’s contribution, I didn’t want to reject it. Who knows what Hix’ll do in the future, though?) And who could say no to Oilweather, with his obsessive academic agenda? Adorable. (Also, tiny amendment – Hix spouted old Railjack lore at him; not Vond’s fulminations.)

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