Actual Play – This is how we do in Doskvol (11/7/2016)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.7.1

A slight correction

We missed Oskarr’s “Calculating” move last session which would have granted him another downtime action. Since heat was just about to become a real issue, he spent it reducing heat by sending out decoy spirit juju bombs to throw the Spirit Wardens off our trail. [Reduce Heat]


Coin: 10…only we left a freaking book behind, so we only took home 6.
Rep: 4 (Target was the Leviathan Hunters). This triggerd a crew advancment and we went from weak to firm hold.
Heat: 5 (Smooth and quiet: 1, +1 for high profile targer, +1 for hostile turf, +2 for killing)

Canter Returns

Arcy, Oskarr, Bricks, Hix, Cyclops, Mercy, Cricket and perhaps a few others swaggered back to Scurlock Manor, high on their last success. The strongbox with all its coin and gems and jewelry was dumped on a table and a drunken orgy began! Wax cylinder phonograph playing!

Oskarr sat off on the side in a dark corner, swirling his brandy, bemusedly watching people.

Cyclops and Bricks found their way to the tattoo chair to give themselves commemorative ink.

Canter, when he returned, heard the music, saw the revelry, and naturally assumed we were all throwing him a party in celebration of his return. Arcy, so amazed at what happened, and so high from the rush of completing that job, didn’t even feel the need to disabuse him of that notion. And so the Bloodletters re-united, and partied together! He saw the giant pile of money. People were drinking and debauching. Canter had died and gone to heaven!

Canter found Arcy trying to convince Oksarr to drink with the gang, and then gave Arcy a very powerful hug. Lots of hitting and back slapping. He looked at the giant pile of look “I feel so proud right now, I don’t even know what to say. You did a good thing Arcy…I’m so glad… this… is happening.”

Osckarr handed Canter a glass of brandy, which toasted to the Bloodletters, then pounded and smashed the glass on the ground “Let’s get fucked up.” Arcy followed by smashing her glass down to the level below and the whole crew of savages followed suit. Canter didn’t actually find out what happened, but then again, didn’t really care.

Arcy’s Vice

As the party continued, Arcy made her rounds of checking on the crew, and then made her way to Mercy. She tucked back a stray bit of hair behind her ear and asked Mercy if she wanted to explore the rest of the manor. Mercy, who it turns out was attacted to Arcy after all, grabbed a fistful of Arcy’s hair and squeezed hard enough to hurt. She nodded slightly with a raised eyebrow and turned to walk down a shadowy hallway. As Arcy followed her she grabbed Canter’s arm and dragged him with her. [Vice, so much vice]

“Canter has a very well developed ‘this is a sex thing radar’ so I think we’re good” – Adam

“Blades After Dark” – kynb (from chat)

Deep in the Witching Hour

Late at night, as Oskarr was leaving little notes on the chest of all the passed out gang members with a list of tasks for them to do in the morning.

When he retired to bed there was a knock at the door…Cricket was there, high on Lotus or some other drug and dealing with Scurlock manor in some metaphysical way. She was having a bad trip and Okscarr took the brunt of it from her by drawing the nightmare hellscape she was seeing into him. [Resist. Or as Stras likes to say, NOOOPE!]

A visit from the Crows

At the top of the morning there was a rap on the door of Scurlock manor. A liutenant of the crows in dapper dress was there to delier a simple message “Master Scurlock would apprecate the honor of the Bloodletters coming for a sit down at your convenience…within the day.” And with that he put on his bowler hat, turned and walked off.

As Oskarr watched him walk off he passed by two supsicious Bluecoats, who he pressed money into their hands, doffed his cap, and walked off.

Canter, meanwhile, staggered out of the bathtub he woke up, took a piss into the fireplace and then asked “Who’s that asshole at the door?”

Interrogating Henner

At the dock it was business as usual, but our newfound control was evident [Firm Hold]. The Grinders had been pushed back to the wharves themselves, in full view of the Spirt Wardens, who didn’t care about drug dealing, but their space was squeezed.

On our way into the parlor, Arcy told the crew to clear out all the empty barrels, to make room for all the supply that is coming in!

In the basement, with the dried well, Cyclops was already there, staring the Lampblack down. Oskarr in his guise of the Red Hand walked to Henner, chained to the wall, and placed his hand over Henner’s heart to feel it beat, startling him awake [Oskarr now has “Like Looking into a Mirror” and can now tell when any are lying to him].

Henner realized where he was, wild eyed for a moment, and then calmed down and gave us a look like “fuck you guys, I’m not telling you shit.” [Fortune roll for his toughness: 6].

We started with a threat to kill Henner and then feed his ghost to Oskcarr. [Group action Command]. Arcy leaned on him, but Cyclops put the pain on. The camera focused on Canter’s face spoke and we heard the sounds of strain and struggling until Henner finally broke.

“It was Picket’s idea. It was all her thing.” [A note that after we killed the Red Sashes, Bazso thought we were his friends, but Picket picked up on the fact that the Bloodletters were on our list]

Leaning further. “Okay, I’ll bite, what is Picket’s plan?” When he hessitated Arcy threatened to make him the first test subject of our new supply. Though Arcy meant it as a threat, out of knowhere she felt this thrill of anticipation that not only would this plan work, it would be the most fun thing she could possibly do. She did not give into Setarra [Refused the devil’s bargain] but she smiled just the same, enough for Canter to raise his sunglasses and give the “what the fuck?” look. Cyclops put the hurt on him again, this time with the sounds of something snapping, and Henner finally spilled it all:

First he told us things we already know. Picket knows you’re going to betray Bazso. She knows… More pain was appplied to hustle this along.

Picket had made a deal with Ellis (the undercover Spirit Warden working for the Lampblacks that Canter killed). She (and Bazso) knew who he was and they made a deal with him to pass information to the Spirit Wardens.

The Spirit Wardens also had an agent in the Eels named Silver (oh damn, we’ve know her for a while). Silver had been tracking Leviathan blood smuggling in the city, trying to figure out where the leaks were. She knew the Eels had some connection and that the Red Sashes had taken over some of their turf.

Silver, Ellis, Henner, and Picket were all investigating this and feeding information to the Spirit Wardens to get money on the side. Bazso knew about this and was hoping to pin it all on the Red Sashes, sick the Spirit Wardens on them, and get rid of them that way.

Then a new gang showed up, killed Silver and the Eels, started murdering Red Sashes, killed his agent in the Spirit Wardens, and screwed evertything up. Bazso, being a crafty leader, decided to pick a new plan, got in close with us, and took out the Red Sashes that way. Unlike Bazso though, Picket never trusted us and decided to keep the investigation up, especially after shit got real and the Spirit Wardens moved in.

Picket, Henner, and the ghost of silver did want to give up. They knew we were the ones who were actually doing it and they wanted us to get caught red handed.

What he couldn’t understand was how we possibly found them!

“Magical assholes who ruin all your plans” – Our new gang name.

He tried to blame Picket and say he had not choice, but that was a complete lie and Oskarr saw right through that shit. He then asked his questions three:

  1. Are you a Spirit Warden? No.
  2. Do you know where Silver is? Last time I saw her, she was with Flint. (Flint? Flint! The guy who has been watching us forever? Yep, Flint!)
  3. Does Bazso know about any of this? Everything up to when Canter killed Ellis, but after that Picket has been running it since then.

As we left Arcy said that Bazso would be making this right, by selling our product from now on. When the works “make Bazso” were said Canter snapped to attention. Yes!

A weekend with Canter and Rothe

We flashed back to last weekend when Canter and Rothe were still searching for Canter’s perfect clothier. First, in the Kinclaith house with an architect that had delusions of grandeur and depicted his creations on tiny dolls which he had named and given life to in his own mind. Canter chased him off before he could complete the presentation and he was bored with this man’s ramblings [Long Term Project].

Later, all the way in Imperial City, Canter and Rothe met up with Linea for coffee, and then went off to the royal opera house where they found a much beleaguered seamstress that had spent ages working on theater costumes and was never appreciated for their amazing talent. Some coin spent for the trip and various bribes granted Canter access where he convinced this budding talent to work for him! [Long Term Project: Complete. Vice Purveyor Acquired!]

For a moment, in his new ermine coat, Canter’s ancestral features finally came to the surface… the descendants of the Skov king! [Indulge Vice]

Training Up the Adepts

Oskarr had been studying the gang, and found out which of those were interested in the mystic arts. One day he left notes for the chosen members to meet him in a location…one which required for them to attune to find. For those that arrived, he offered them membership in his new coven if they wanted to join him. Cricket was the first! [Crew Advance to add the gang type: Adepts]

He did ask questions of each of them though…thankfully none were either secretly Spirit Wardens or working for other gangs. The training montage showed Oskarr going to the dueling academy (as Oskarr Scurlock) and being handily defeated by a novice fencer, then him dressed as the Red Hand teaching his new students and he was the master! All the members that graduated received complimentary red hooded cloaks and bone masks. As you do.

First rule of Witch Club. Don’t speak about Secret Sewer Sorcery. Some of them were even introduced to Quellen, who taught them about the properties of mushrooms that grew on her tree.

Our Vault

Arcy has been piecing together bits of property to hide resources in and one of the deeds from the strongbox was to an office of the North Akoros Company. It was an old abandoned space that looked worthless in the basement was a fully functioning bank vault!

Dead Man’s Party

In Oskarr’s normal den on vice, the supernatural goth club, he brought Cricket along and did all the weird things he normally does [Vice].

He also thought he saw a glimpse of Silver…who disappeared before he could be sure, and he ran into the ghost of Roric, the former leader of the crows! Somehow the knowledge that Henner had shared made this click in place and though he never knew him in life, Oskarr somehow knew him… and Roric identified him as well!

Oskarr tried to enter into a conversation with him but Roric to get a feel for him, but Roric dominated the conversation and all he learned was that Lyssa wasn’t the one who killed him, but otherwise all the questioned end up being directed at Oskarr instead. When he learned that Oskarr was going to meet with her, he made a demand of the young whisper: To retrieve and arcane object from his office and plant it in Lyssa’s office during the meeting.

The one little bit he did learn was that Roric still cares about what happens to the gang.

Summoning Setarra

Oskarr, now with the Dimmer Sisters (who went from tea and cakes to funeral garb in a smash cut), and his newfound adepts, set off to uneave the spell that blocked demons just slightly so that Setarra could get through.

Between Oskarr’s might, the Dimmer Sister’s skill, the new Adepts persistence, and enough uppers to kill a horse they found a way through all of the three of the ritual anchor locations to weave a thread that Setarra could get through.

The next day the crew’s mouths were black, their veins sunken in, and their eyes dull, but they did it! [Long Term Projects: All completed!]

Putting the Lampblacks in Place

The Leaky Bucket was back to operating as a normal bar. Marvin Gull, the proprietor was running it again and Bazso was there, along with some Crows, Billhooks, and many Lampblacks.

Bazso caught our eye, gestured to a booth, brought a bottle of whiskey and some shot glasses, and then sat down with us to talk. Bazso was happy to see us, happy with the state of things, and ready to stare down and then appease Canter as needed. After surveying the room to see who was listening, Arcy told Bazso he was missing something… he piece of shit Henner… and swiftly she passes Henner’s knife across the table, which Bazso disappeared equally quickly.

Arcy laid it out. Henner and Picket had been working against him and he needed to make it right.. and the way he was going to do that was by cleaning his own house and selling our product. It all worked except that Bazso felt the need to teach Canter a lesson, as Canter had been goading him the whole time.

“Bazso is in the world where you’re the young cub who needs to be taught a lesson. Canter is in the world where he’s the old lion and everyone is going to eat him.”

Bazso realized his mistake, that a debt was owed, he had no reason to deny us… but he also realized that we weren’t his friends. And then a lot of things happened very fast!

Bazso shook Arcy’s hand, and he was about to clock Canter for his insolence, Canter instead [Reflexes] reached out to the bodyguard who was close by and ran his knife through the bodyguards hand, crippling him for life. Meanwhile, Arcy had placed the bottle of whiskey close enough to Bazso that when he went to swing it tipped over [Mastermind], distracting him enough to slow is punch so she could catch his hand mid air [Battleborn].

A bloody mess we created… and then walked out. Arrangements made.

Meeting with the Crows

The Guardtower. A monolithic edifice of an earlier day. Once controlled by the Bluecoats and then abandoned, now used by the Crows. Who knows it’s original purpose.

We arrived with a few of our gang members in tow, though most of them split off when we entered the tower. The stairway up was narrow and cramped. Squeezing by was challenging, especially when Crow crew members stood stationed along the way. The top, which may have once been an observatory was a gorgeous open space that have a gorgeous view of the city.

Present there was:

  • Lyssa, leader of the crows. Dressed like a pirate queen. Cat eye makeup. Tricorne hat. Wild clothes. Feet up on the desk, looking like the queen of the world.
  • Several of her gang, clearly there as protection.
  • A contingent of a dozen Iruvians dressed in noble finery. All caftans and robes with swords at their sides.
  • The Irruvian leader Elstera Avrathi. A woman with olive skin, dark hair, and finest silken robes we had ever seen.
  • Captain Linea, Leviathan Hunter. Staring straight ahead and pretending this isn’t happening.
  • A younger Irruvian woman who looked like she could be Linea’s younger sister. The side of her hair shaved and the top made into a metal braid. At her side was a metal coil, which Oskarr recognized as a demon whip.
  • An Irruvian Bluecoat with her cap under her arm. The one who Canter admitted the killing of the Red Sashes too.


There were three chairs in front of Lyssa’s desk.

  • Oskarr perched on one of the chairs.
  • Canter started taking his coat off for a hot minute waiting for someone to take it… when no-one did he sighed that they didn’t have better manners and flourished the coat over the back of the chair and sat down. He looked Linea, winked hard (despite that she was looking away from him) and then went back to business.
  • Arcy sat, annoyed there wasn’t a 4th chair for Cyclops.
  • Cyclops took the middle ground though and stood behind one of the bodyguards, making him super uncomfortable.

Lyssa looked like she could absolutely give no fucked about us at all. She was the Canter of the Crows and the two of the did everything they could to pay no attention to the other. Oskarr did try to approach the young Irruvian and though she had to hold her ground

Lyssa waited… a long time… long enough to make everyone in the room uncomfortable. Just as people were about to break, Lyssa stood up, walked away from us and said casually as can be “Hand someone over for the murder of the Red Sashes.” She said as a command, but with no particular interest.

Canter tried to get a read on Linea, to see what she expected to have happen. He could not read her face at all, but everyone noticed him watching her. Tension raised in the room. Nobody drew weapons but they looked very ready. [Risky study, 1-3 result]

Arcy stood and looked at the closest bodyguard like he was a shit stain under her shoe and that she could throw him out the window if she wanted to. He bowed his head, breaking eye contact, and everyone noticed as well [Risky Command with a Devil’s Bargain that the Irruvians took notice. Mixed 4-5 Result, to lose a tick of status with the Irruvians] “Who is making this request of us?”

Lyssa leaned up against the archway, lit a cigarette, and gestured, bored, at the Irruvians. Elstera, their leader made to step forward but one of her bodyguards interposed. They knew how dangerous we are. “I did not come here to play games. We know what you did. You have killed our people. The northerners do not care and will do nothing. We will have our vengeance on you and yours. Tell us who killed Mylera. Tell us now. Justice will be done and the matter will be closed. That is the best we can offer.”

Canter chuckled “You came to Duskwall looking for justice. Shit, you’re in the wrong town. Some random Irruvians get done in the street, and you’ve come up here looking for us to make it better?” He shrugged indicating that his is just how this works and he almost felt a little bad that they misunderstood the situation so badly. And in this told everyone in the room (including Linea) that this is who we are, an they can all get fucked. [Setup Action]

“I will light my relationship on fire and use it to set these people on fire.” – The mind of Canter Haig.

Two things happened:

  1. Lyssa fell in love with Canter…as hard as she possibly could. She became electrified with excitement seeing him. “You are her, and she is you. And she just can’t believe that someone could be this fucking reckless and cool and wild and your coat is really interesting.”
  2. Lady Avrathi looked at Lyssa, as she stopped the enter exchange to fall in love with Canter, and gave her a of confusion of anger, to which Lyssa turned on Arcy expecting that she would have make her command a second time. “Give someone over now.”

Arcy followed up and addressed Avrathi directly “I’ve faced Mylera in one one one combat and I defeated her in her own school.” We stared each other in they eyes and let them know they were not in Irruvia. [Desperate Command with Great effect – >Crit!]

Everyone in the room knew the Irruvians had nothing on us. They could draw down now or they could all get fucked. And the backed off, but not be fore Lady Avrathi realized that Arcy was the kind of person she needed in Doskvol to get things done. [New Contact Acquired].

Lyssa looked at them like “wow, you all just got fucked…. she seems dangerous to me.”


So we’re at war with the Irruvian Consulate, but the leader is Arcy’s new friend.  The Irruvians, including Linea, all left. The rest of us rolled out as well, except Canter, who Lyssa jumped all over!

Blades on Air

What Rocked

The moment when Canter first walked it and Mercy locked eyes and saw each other as killers.

Mercy-Arcy-Canter hookup. Hot.

Oskarr taking care of Cricket at the party. And just generally being weird at the party. Then later training her and the other crew members to be adepts.

Interrogating Henner and finding out this plan that John has had brewing since the very first game. When he reminded us that the very first thing we did was find a bunch of people in the basement of a tattoo parlor and murder them all! Picket and Henner didn’t mean anything to use, but Silver and Flint. Damn!

Cyclops standing behind the Crows’ bodyguard. So good.

Oskarr’s encounter with Roric in the spirit club… so cool.

Meeting with Bazso. It wasn’t what Arcy wanted, but damn, we got the job done.

The whiskey bottle nearly tipping over and being caught at the last minute by Oskarr!

The parallels between the scene with Bazso in the Leaky Bucket and the Irruvians in the Crow’s Nest. Some beautiful symmetry right there.

Lyssa-Canter hookup at the end. Also hot.

The new art that John made for the Blades overlay was so damn good!


What could have improved

I was sad that we lost our friendship with Bazso, but it’s one of those cost of doing business. Partially because Arcy used Command and because Canter had to front. It could have been done another way, but we leaned on or strengths and our strengths involve fucking people over. Sometimes that is le sad.


One thought on “Actual Play – This is how we do in Doskvol (11/7/2016)”

  1. I’ve just watched through the last 2 sessions of the Bloodletters game (all 10 hours of it) and it was pretty wonderful to behold.

    John really threw the works at you both with the strength of Captain Strangford and with Crows/Irruvian setup and both times it almost fell apart but you recovered and beat the situation by pulling off desperate moves. Pretty dramatic. The crit with 3d6 at just the right time was an epic moment.

    The gang is now working together now, with even Canter’s ‘loose cannon’ being aimed in approximately the right direction. I find it very funny that he still doesn’t know what went down while he was away and probably isn’t interested in knowing as long as the coin and drugs supply are flowing again.

    Gaining Lady Avrathi as a contact is a real boon for Arcy as it allows her to quickly set up a meeting to stop the war before it does much damage. Fine, tasteful clothes and good manners learned from her marriage to show that she is much more than a cold thug would go a long way to impress Lady Avrathi and maybe a continuing payment by the gang for “access to diplomatic services” would help, with the tacit understanding that this is partly reparations for the Red Sashes. And regular access to a better part of society (I don’t count the partying noble kids) is just what Arcy needs to get to Papa Keel …

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