Actual Play – Welcome home Hix. Now who is in charge? (4/18/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Blades in the Dark

Hix walked into the Cat and Candle as Yadvyga was leading a trivia night. The cafe was hopping with activty and some spirits (of the alcoholic nature, not the dead) had slipped in. Elke’s tea was noticibly missing from the beverage offerings, but otherwise the place looked the same as Hix left it… except who was that in their booth?

Ro sat alone in the “leaders” booth watching the events of the evening, and when a bedraggled woman who stank of her own sweat and urine approached he was quickly to inform her that this booth was only for — oh wait, this was Hix! Ro quickly apologized and made room for her at the table.

When Jadvyga was able to break free of the leading the trivia questions (an unusually high number of the questions about demonic influence) she met Hix and Ro at the booth and together they caught Hix up on what had happened since she was hauled off to Ironhook. Well not everything, but the did tell her about one problem they currently had…

Polonia Clelland

Professor Clelland was still tied up in the private library, under watch from Vey, who she was staring daggers at. Thank’s to Ro’s trance powder the didn’t have to hurt her to get her tied up, but when she “woke” (both from the unconsciousness and Scapa’s possession) she was furious. The leaders made their way to the back and Ogre stepped into cover for them. Ro tried to cut him off “Watch the table, but don’t sit at it!” but he wasn’t able to stay long enough for his words to carry much weight. Ogre paused while Ro was eyeing him, but then continued toward it once they had retreated into the private library.

Outside the library Wester and Volette were standing guard doing their best to pretend like they couldn’t hear the muffled cries of professor Clelland (Vey had drawn the short straw).

Clelland immediately fixed her gaze upon Ro when the entered. She only remembered it vaguely, but she was certain he had poisoned her. The Iruvian Slide tried to butter her up with a story about how they were trying to talk down the ghost that possessed her, so of course he said that he’d go along with the ghost’s plan… it was all to protect her [Risky sway. Partial success]. Polonia calmed down and agreed that she would not yell out if the gag was removed, but she did not trust Ro’s story.

Hix ordered Ro to untie her and then asked plainly what the Society could do to make things right with her [Desperate swat. Full success]. Polonia massaged her stiff wrists but otherwise made no motion to move from her chair (she was still outnumbered four to one in enemy territory) and agreed that she would discuss what happened with Hix. Negotiations were open.

After some back and forth Polonia agreed to not press charges against the DSS and to help Hix become reinstated as a student, if the society shared their ritual of protection from possession with her and agreed to never do her harm again. The shook and as they did so Hix’s arm lit up sparkling with electricity (visible in the ghost field forming the shapes of machine cogs around her). Polonia winced as her electricity coursed through her own arm and left a brand upon it… the mark of the Keeper of the Flame. [Ghost Contract]


Crisis averted, each of the crew set out to tend to their own affairs…

  • Ro went with Hix to the Vale to find partners for the evening. [Indulge vice]
  • Jadvyga hit the books, claiming that she was working on Elke’s research, but instead just studying demonic influence [Long term project completed. Detection of demonic influence now possible]
  • Hix, paying off a portion of her debt to the Keeper of the Flame, consecrated the Cat and Candle as a sanctum of the Keeper [Paying off the recovery action the Keeper took on her behalf under Ironhook].
  • Ro practiced his game face in the mirror [Training Resolve]
  • Hix built a shrine to the Keeper of the Flame in her home. Harland wasn’t around to object [Indulge vice]
  • Jadviga approached Arquo as he was hunting Major Crane. She had to to travel a long way in the rain to get to him and her fine hat was destroyed in the process but when she found him “I need a piece of your hair.” “What?” Arquo shouted over the rain. “I need a piece of your hair.” “What?” The same lines repeated several times as Arquo first could not here, then could not understand why, but eventually conceded. He had asked her to do enough strange things, he would abide. [Long term project project to understand the nature of the demon’s bond to a mortal started.]
  • Ro dragged Jadvyga out to go shopping, which they both enjoy and her tailor Malcolm Dundridge particularly appreciated her bringing Ro by, and he was not shy about making advances on the Iruvian as he was having him fitted. [Indulge vice]
  • Arquo returned to the Cat and Candle, hungry and wet and noticed a change. Where he had finally built up some status among the society and many, at least in the student patrol, looked up to him as a their leader before, now that Hix was back they reverted to deferring to her. He agreed…she was his better. He retreated into the night to see his family to feel wanted and needed again [Indulge vice]
  • The Student Patrol gave the appearance of students in a benefit society [part of All Hands] by hosting a Hallows Eve trivia night. [Reduce Heat]
  • Meanwhile Hix took the Spectral Defenders to Riven to seem them patched up [Recovery of a Gang]

A few parting moments

Ro caught Arquo on the way out to see his parents and just to twist the knife a bit deeper he encouraged Arquo to keep his side projects (read: hunting Crane) to himself.

We had a flashback to Hix being dumped in street out of a Bluecoat carriage and there being someone there waiting for her. Salia, who offered a hand and a warm meal…quite a different person than the Salia who’s heart Hix had broken.

What Rocked

There was this great moment where Eric chose to have Jadvyga not indulge her vice (and thus gain stress because she had trauma) but Ro approached her and pulled her out to go shopping with him. It was a great bit of player and character generosity.

I loved seeing the status games that started the moment Hix returned. Who was in charge, and of course Adrienne was wonderful about one of her character’s casting all kinds of shade on another one of her characters. Poor Arquo.

Wow, those negotiations with Clelland were rough. She had zero desire to let the Society off the hook, and was really grinding the repercussions of their actions into Jadvyga (who she saw as soft), but also she was outnumbered four to one and not at all sure that the Society wouldn’t just killer in then and their. The negotiations were rough!

What could have improved

As frequently is the case I worried a little bit about not keeping up with the NPCs. What is Major Crane doing? What about Scurlock? How are other factions reacting to Hix the snitch getting out of Ironhook? I think these are good questions for me to be asking myself between sessions. It’s both the beauty and the challenge of a having such a large cast, that it’s more than I can keep track of all at once. The good news is I don’t have to, but I’d still like to have a better sense of the world as a whole.

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