Actual Play – This is Personal LaRose (2/21/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Eric Fattig  and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark, Rules v.8

Karen was away this week so we played a small score with just Adrienne and Eric, but much fun had doling out some personal justice.


Harland opted to take the harm for brewing the Drown Powder (we decided it could have either been Harland brewing it or Jadvyga administering it) but resisted the “sickened” harm it would have caused.

Adrienne also asked about this “ward boss” business, and why the DSS was paying up three coin per score to Charterhall. We discussed several different scores they would attempt to reduce some of those costs, and the ramifications if they simply didn’t pay up. Perhaps that will be a future score, but not tonight.


Mercy, who helped Harland brew the drown powder didn’t show up for class the day after score at the Hound’s Tooth. She didn’t show up the day either. That night Harland visited her apartment in Charterwall and found her nursing some terrible injuries. One eye was swollen shut, her cheekbone was fractured, and several ribs were broken. [I rolled the Usual Suspects and the crew offered up Mercy. They thought she had a good chance of blowing off the Bluecoats so didn’t spend the coin to help her out. We did give her a 4 dice to resist (she’s a cold killer after all) but the dice gods did not favor us and she too two harm].


Feeling terrible that he got a friend beat up, Harland went to Sawtooth, a old bone saw that works down on the docs tending to pit fighters. He’s used to dealing with all sorts of contusions, so this was nothing new for him, however he was able to covey some unpleasant truths. Not only did the Bluecoats beat Mercy up, they kicked her while she was down. Sawtooth didn’t paint a pretty picture. [A slightly different kind of downtime action. We called this a fortune roll, 1-3 meant he couldn’t do anything for her, 4-5 healed 1 harm, and 6+ healed 2 harm. We rolled for Sawtooth and got a 4-5, so he helped her out but it was going to be a while before she could see out of her left eye or chew without it hurting]

Arquo also sought medical attention, first from Jadvyga (who put herbs on his wounds that did nothing medicinal but smelled VERY bad) and then to his father’s friend Melvir, who patched him up. Melvir however was very wary of any kind of treatment a Stranger would offer and was worried that Arquo had been seduced by a demon. He applied all manner of charms to him as well as saying many prayers to exorcise whatever hold the devil had on him, but Arquo promised he was just fine. His wounds were all physical. Well all except the Screams of a 1,000 Dead [Harm 2]. That got Melvir riled up again and he said that the only way to quiet those dead was to pay tribute at the Church of the Ecstasy of the Flesh and visit their Sanctorum. [More coin spent for recovery rolls, All wounds reduced one level]. Melvir was quite worried about his friends son getting mixed up with the wrong kinds of people and is sure to show up at some in opportune time to check in on him [Devils Bargain on the second recovery roll].

Harland, needed to tend to his own wounds later visited Sawtooth at the ring and asked for something to help him with spectral presence that was perpetually trying to drown him.  “Ah Ghost Lung… that’ll get you ever time. Here’ just drink this, it’s a mixture of coffee, powdered eel, nut butter, and if you’ll ask your brother Corro to lighten up on his ‘taxes’ I’ll dig deep and grind up some devil root to put in there as well.” [Devils Bargain to help Sawtooth out with Corro]. Harland drank down the awful concoction and then had a horrible attack of vomiting, then dry heaving, and then finally expelling the embryonic mass of ectoplasm that had been festering in his lungs. He missed the bucket and left a stain in the ghost field in the back of the gym. [Recovery]

Arquo found Jadvyga at the Cat and Candle and asked her if she could tell him anything about Elke. What did she think if him? He just couldn’t tell! Jadvyga was of no use, but she did agree to go have dinner with him (just as friends) to appease his parents and their often conflicting desires. Sitting around the stove, drinking brew Arcus examined his own wounds, then those of his son, and then those of his son’s friend (Jadvyga was still limping on her sprained ankle). “So, you’re just up to honest work these days now son, eh?” Arquo and Jadvyga quickly folded and told they they had been doing more crime but tried to reassure him about their capers, “those aren’t typical…though that’s usually how it goes.” She didn’t do a very good job. Instead however she broke off to talk to Ramira who was all for the DSS being enterprising if it meant Arquo taking better care of the family, while Arquo talked to his father and reassured him they weren’t getting in over their heads [Indulge Vice, Jadvyga is Arquo’s friend!]

In other parts of the Dusk, Harland was tending to his flock, holding a sermon about how guilt drags the soul down. He didn’t say that it was inspired based on his own guilty feelings about letting Hix go to Ironhook and not being there for Elke, but Lizette noticed that this was something personal. He gave each of his flock a tall votive candle to stare at and reflect upon their own wrong doings. That night in his apartment a hooded figure knocked on his door. Being paranoid Harland leapt back and lunged for his halbard. When he finally brought the weapon to bear though he realized it was Lizette. She had brought him a tall candle. “Here, I thought you might need this.” [Indulge vice. Devils bargain to start a clock: Lizette reveals you’re a fake 1/4]

Time in the Hook

Yet in a darker part of the the Dusk we found Hix alone in solitary confinement for an unknown amount of time. Certainly days… but weeks? Maybe? She tried to get chatty with the guards who brought her food and took her chamber pot, but for some time they would never talk to her, or they’d threaten a beating if she didn’t stay quiet. Eventually though, their treatment became less harsh, and finally they released her from solictary and took her deep down into the Hook, to the giant catacombs that housed Ironhook’s many residents. [Fortune roll to get out, mixed result, she found out she only got out because someone put in a good word for her].

In an attempt to find out who she owed thanks too, Hix started talking to the fellow prisoners, telling them about the exploits going on outside, appluading some gangs while trash talking her foes outside. “Hey you fucking sewer rat, I’M A GRINDER!” Hix would have gotten her ass kicked if not for several other Rail Jacks stepping up and helping her out, and thus starting a massive brawl between the Rail Jacks and the Grinders [Jail Bird special ability, Hix (and the DSS as a whole) got +1 Faction Status (from -1 to 0, and they helped because she’s part of the family and because they expect her to join them now) with the Rail Jacks].

Making LaRose Pay

Mercy, when Harland pressed her told him that LaRose was the one who came for her. LaRose was also the one that took the coin Steiner brought from Arquo and pocketed it rather than releasing Arcus early. When Harland and Arquo both realized they had a common foe, the decided to get their own bloody vengeance.

Asking around they found out that LaRose is a huge fan of the Devil Hunter’s (the Charterhall University Streetball team) and would watch the games from the distinguished vantage point of the Devil’s Tooth. A three story pub with an open balcony on the top floor and giant open windows (which where un-shuttered for the games) on the first floor.  On game day they found an nearby building to lay in wait and prepared to pounce on him when he left the Devil’s Tooth. [Assault Plan]

The opening engagmeent wasn’t as smooth as they wanted. LaRose lingered to extort the Devil’s Tooth owner for his cut, and the left out the back, causing Arquo and Harland to have to chase after him through the open air first floor. [Partial success on the engagement roll, Risky situation]. Arquo and Harland dashed after him but made too much noise and he heard the coming [Risky Prowl Group Action. Bad Outcome. End up in a desperate position and complication].

LaRose saw them both running at him and called out loudly to the proprietor “Valo! Valo!” The meaning of this was unclear until Arquo was closelined buy the giant arm a massive man from the Dagger Isles. Huge in stature, covered in tatoos, and wearing nothing but swim trunks, Valo was clearly the bouncer at the Devil’s Tooth, and was doing his best to mash Arquo into a fine pulp.

Harland ducked and weaved around Valo (leaving Arquo to his fate) and charged LaRose. The Bluecoat was ready for him, lined up a crack with his truncheon, but didn’t expect the rage that propelled Harland and the young merchant got inside his reach and clocked him before he could respond [Risky Skirmish. Full success. Standard effect. Beat down LaRose’s defenses 2/4].

Meanwhile Arquo was busy getting the snot kicked out of him [Desperate Skirmish. Bad Outcome. Serious consequence of being choked out by Valo. Resisted and reduced down to being thrashed against the wall by Valo. Harm-2. Cracked Rib] After getting thrashed several times, Arquo finally had enough and drew his dagger and when Valo was picking him back up, put the blade between Valo’s legs and suggested that the bruiser thing twice [Risky Command. Full success]. Valo agreed that LaRose wasn’t worth getting cut over, and let Arquo go unmolested (or at least, no more molested).

LaRose had draw his pistol on Harland but he couldn’t get a good shot. Harland jumped on top of them and the two grappled in the street. The pistol file exploded into the air (that was when Valo was distracted and Arquo got his blade out) but missed Harland completely. Harland responded with more pummeling  [Risky Skirmish. Full success. Standard effect. Beat down LaRose’s defenses 4/4].

Finally free of Valo, Arquo ran over and grabbed Larose’s hand, twisted it painfully and used it drag him into the street. LaRose stumbled for his whistle, but Arquo yanked him so fiercely he could never get it to his mouth. [Risky Skirmish Setup Action. Full Success]

Down Chalk Alley, with nobody watching, the dragged him into pile of shit dumped onto the street from above, and proceeded to both kick the hell out of Larose. [Controlled Skirmish. Great Effect. Full Success]. After they battered him into unconsciousness, they took the coin he had just extorted along with all his finery (boots, pocket watch, pistol, and other effects) and left him bleeding and naked in the street. And it was glorious.

That’s what you get for messing with the DSS!


  • 2 coin (extortion money + personal effects) but none of it paid to Charterhall as this was not reported.
  • 0 rep (done in an alley with no spectators)
  • 3 heat (smooth an contained. +1 for well connected target and +1 for being on hostile turf)
  • -1 Faction Status with the Bluecoats!

A little something on the side

Arquo had agreed to help Steiner out but Adrienne didn’t want that to take center stage, so we handled it with a fortune roll. Partial success. The gun running succeeded with some complication. We’ll figure out what it is next time!

What Rocked

It was really fun to have a very small scale, personal score. LaRose was a terrible person and we relished in him getting some of his own medicine.

Bringing Melvir and Sawtwooth to life and into the game was great fun. Very different folks with very different ideas. I can’t wait to see Harland talk to Corro again!

Oh, poor Hix. I feel so bad that she’s having such a rough time in Ironhook. But hey, she reconnected with family, so it wasn’t all bad. Let’s see if she can help Irelen out.

I love the way my scoundrels indulge their vices. Giving sermons and managing parents conflicting expectations. So good!

The scene when Harland totally lost his cool when Lizette entered the room had me in stitches. Eric plays Harland as paranoid so well!

What could have been improved

I wasn’t sure if handling a “mini score” off screen was the right call or if I should push that if you want to “do a thing, do it”. Probably the happy compromise would be to say spend a downtime action to do it (I can’t remember if I did that or not). But overall we weren’t that excited about that score, so I’m glad we didn’t give it screen time. Plus, I get the best part out if it, which is some complication. Did Bazso get word about this going down? Do the union workers consider Arquo an ally they can come to again? I’m sure we’ll think of something cool.


2 thoughts on “Actual Play – This is Personal LaRose (2/21/2017)”

  1. I totally agree about the short, personal score being super fun! (And it was straightforward. So unlike the DSS!) I don’t even know what we were getting out of this other than satisfaction for our characters. And our players. Man, I loved hurting LaRose. I know Scurlock is the bigger bad, but LaRose seems so much more satisfying to attack. Maybe we should do personal scores more often. Could be even more moving for me.

    I appreciate that there are lots of opportunities for dealing with the Charterhall University kickbacks. Very grateful that we didn’t have to tithe as long as we took no rep.

    Arquo’s obligation is the push and pull of his parents’ wants. I was thinking this obligation might lessen as Arquo’s stash goes, but it looks like they’ll always having something to badger Arquo about. I really appreciate Sean checking in about my wanting this battle with the parents every time I go to indulge my vice (it does generate xp), which it could just be an uncomplicated ‘recover stress’ roll. I think the interpersonal dynamics are really fun and the more often other crew members pile into the Llewellyn’s little shanty, the better.

    Favourite Bits:
    – Harland’s paranoid swinging of the halberd (and clatteringly putting it down) when Lizette came to visit. (And how he thought it might be Hix at first!)
    – Melvir’s racism! So well-played!
    – Jadvyga down-playing the criminal element of the DSS to Remira.
    – LaRose’ cowardly scream for Valo! Valo! And then later, Valo’s contemplative decision process for whether he was going to interfere in LaRose’s beat-down or not.

    1. Also – I’m happy to retroactively spend a coin for Arquo’s downtime action. All I wanted was to establish that Arquo is the kind of guy who would make good on his promise to Steiner.

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