Actual Play – Season Three (7/11/2017)

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

Note: I fell way behind on my AP reports so these are written many moons later based off my notes. The accuracy will likely vary greatly! Also, this is just transcribed from my notes. Things may be out of order!

This game kicked off our “Season 3”. Not coincidentally, it’s also when they became Tier 3, which had several implications for the crew. We progressed the timeline significantly to account for them securing the hold in the lost district as well as the crew growing in numbers.

Payoff (from the last score)

  • Turf: Sukur’s old estate, a lightning field protected manor in the Deathlands.
  • Coin: 4 (They could have plundered much more but that would have imperiled the claim)
  • Rep: 3 (At the time, Circle of the Flame was one Tier higher than them)
  • Faction status: Circle of the Flame -1, Roric +1 (Yep, Roric gets a faction, he represents others…)
  • Heat: 3
  • Entanglements: Gang Trouble. The Spectral Defenders (wild) through a crazy seance that got out of hand.


Elke, after months of captivity in Bellweather, and finally breaking through Maury that she could be more use to them on the outside than in a cell, was released on paroll, and given mission to find the interloper trying to infiltrate the Spirit Wardens.

Jadvyga had to go out on the Nightbreaker and prove that the amulet prevents someone from having their soul forcibly removed. She did this by standing on the deck of the ship as they faced the Eater of Dreams. In order to survive Jadvyga swore oaths to the Leviathan Hunters so they would protect her. (Clock: Promises due to the Leviathan Hunters 1/4)

Harland was released from Ironhook, not the same man he was. Brie came out as a member of the True Path, traumatized as well. She quickly joined the crew. Thought not a student, that was at this point a trivial formality.

Hix had been running the Spectral Society (as everyone else was gone) by delegating all decisions to the student patrol. Ogre had been stepping in to run things, intercepting  bad news before it got to her, and taking care of it the best he could. Stras, missing Harland also grew restless as the crew had changed. Instead of leading the crew she dedicated herself to finishing the work for Oilweather, scribing his stories of the Severosi and spreading the word of his classes to bring students into his lectures (Long term project: 8/8 ticks complete!)

Harland attended the lecture and found Hix at the back of the hall, sending encouraging nods to Oilweather. The reunited and returned to the Cat and Candle. With the help of Thena Hellyers (the dean) Harland reasserted himself as an associate professor but agrees to do take part in a fundraiser for the school (Devil’s Bargain). Harland is appointed an office in Morlan Hall… all the other staff are terrified of him.

Elke returns to the Cat and Candle as Hix and Harland argue over seating assignments for the fundraiser. She showed up, said hi, then immediately passed out for 18 hours. When she woke she caught up with everyone. They talked about places to live now that they were out. Somewhat randomly they heard from Bazran that Setarra showed up at the Cat and Candle once (though he didn’t know it was her) and took one of their chipped mugs.

Gang Trouble: It turned out Thistle, Ring, and Lynthia were all fighting with each other. Rather than find out what it was about, Elke yelled at them all to stop fighting, and the was the end of it (for now…)

Elke also setup a business model for the ethical trafficking of spirits, allowing them to serve the patrons of the Six Arms without being chopped up or otherwise exploited. The started offering seances as well as matching up ghost and human desires for services. The Whispers keeping the ghost inline and turning the Six Arms into an invitation only club to keep the clients on the level. Nyryx was put in charge, and he focused on adding his own personal touch (read: lots of hot sex) to the place.

Jadvyga was the last to return (from her time on the Nightbringer) and they held up a sign they painted for her and said “We made a sign!” It was adorable. She came back with presents for everyone!

When the crew was restored…the stories started coming out. Both Elke and Jadvyga blame themselves for Arquo’s death, they should have never let him get caught up with Setarra.

New Members of the Crew

  • Brie, recidivist, member of the True Path.
  • Anselm, Stormchaser.
  • Irlelen, returned to school by joining.
  • Lyra, Rosalind’s, struggling to keep up with the life.
  • Various soldiers from Sukur’s estate.
  • More students.
  • Friends from Ironhook (Rail Jacks, Deathlands Scavengers, Ex-Hive members)

Actual Play – DSS: Storm Chasers! (7/3/2017)

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

Note that applies to the next six months of Actual Play reports: I fell way behind on my AP reports so these are written many moons later based off my notes. The accuracy will likely vary greatly! Also, this is just transcribed from my notes. Things may be out of order!

Arquo’s energies blasted to the void, the crew had to figure out what to do without him.

  • Wend took over as Ro’s vice purveyor (providing a hot bath and other luxuries available a lord’s manor)
  • Wester and Thistle (Spectral Defenders) repaired the Hive’s boat which had been damaged on their way into the manor.
  • Ro told the guards at the entrance Anselm and Katya that they were outside the gate because they are Storm Chasers (as per the lightning storms that just struck), which worked a little too well. Anselm became fascinated and wanted to know all about it from Ro!

NPCs Present:

  • Griggs, (chief Whisper of the Gondoliers, strange, ruthless, haunted). Told the crew she wanted this manor (and really all of the lost district) restored to the providence of the Gondoliers.
  • Roric (Ghost, ex-leader of the Crows, calculating, secretive, sophisticated). Looking out for himself and not keen to break his deal with Corro, but willing to turn on Sukur if the offer is right! Using the Circle of Flame as a stepping stone into Doskvol politics and the Hive to re-establish temporal power.
  • Bedford (reconciled ghost possessing Lord Wentworh, a guest of Sukur, enigmatic, cavalier, territorial)


Wend patches up Ro and Jadvyga (Recovery)

Student Patrol acted like things were normal in Doskvol (Reduce Heat)

The Gills brought 3 coin in for the Crew!

The Score: Taking turf in the Lost District!

The Spectral Society parlayed with Roric to get him on their side. They wanted Sukurs manor to claim as their own and were offering his body. The would destroy the ghost that possessed him and let Roric take up shop inside if he let them run the district.

Agreed in their purpose, they met with Sukur, distracted Wentworth/Bedford long enough to get Sukur alone and then attacked Lady Sukur (the ghost that possessed him) and destroyed her. Roric took up shop in his body and the DSS took up shop in the Lost District.

What Rocked

Storm Chasers!

Steam baths!

The Double cross!

What could have improved

Man, I really over extended my “muahhahahaaaa” level master plan. I had some idea about Corro blackmailing Grigs to help him get Roric out of the city so as to prevent Djera from being distracted by him and at the same time giving Sukur the Hand of Kotar so that he could join the Circle of the Flame in exchange for killing Karth Orris (Corro’s rival).

It was bad for a couple reasons. First, some of these motivations don’t make sense. Does Corro care of Djera is distracted by Roric? Why? What does her focus serve him? He’s not a team player so the “good of the Hive” really doesn’t add up. Second, how did he blackmail Griggs, and what was she even doing in this in the first place? I put her and Roric together as unlikely bedfellows (he needed a Spirit Well that she had access too, but what did she get from him? It came across as her just wanting to help him, which may be believable, but why? Helpfulness isn’t one of her known characteristics). When motivations don’t make sense to me, I lose track of how to play the NPC and in this game all of them were pretty much open to the crew’s plans because they didn’t have clear goals of their own.

Second, and this one took me several sessions to dial back from, at some point I started moving clocks for the high tier factions in Doskvol (Hive, Reconciled, Ministry of Preservation, Leviathan Hunters, City Council, etc). The Society had touched these organizations so I started asking what they were up to and settled on a major play for seats on the council. Due to all the internal rivalry, other factions realize there will be an opening soon and they are trying to position their leaders to take it. That’s all fine and cool and great, but it isn’t the focus of the Spectral Society game. By dwelling on those dynamics I moved the spotlight away from where it should have been.



Actual Play – Leave the bottle; take the hook. (7/2/2017)

GM: Judd Karlman
Players: Jason Bowell, Pete Cornell, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark
Crew: The Wobbegong Crew

Taken from Judd Karlman’s writeup:

In which the gang lets off steam, trains in the Pig Pit, studies a demon-goddess’ altar, gets some artifact trinkets back from the Billhooks, and made contact with a barrister representing mercantile interests (and stole his watch).

The Wobbegong Crew

Muad, the gang’s Whisper joined the group; Charming knew her from the Unity War; they fought together on Barghast Beach, one of the bloodiest engagements of the war. I’ve known Sean for years and I’m excited to finally be able to game with him.

Skannon’s nickname is The Crow and that is what we called him for most of the game.

Charming hasn’t met a problem that a proper assault wouldn’t solve.

Willoughby was out indulging in her vice (as Rob couldn’t make it due to work responsibilities).

Doskvol Notables

I was surprised at how many places and people we generated through downtime.

  • Bug – Billhook, saved by Wobeggong Crew from prison barge who keister’d one of the Goat-Matron’s idol children
  • The Goat Matron, Saint of Witches, and her 13 Young – altar/engine, connected to an ancient demon-goddess and her brood
  • Grine – pub-owner being tortured by Coran after having stolen from the Billhooks
  • House of 11 Pleasures – brothel and tea-house owned by The Hive
  • The Pig Pit – a fighting pit run by the Billhooks where Charming works out
  • Phin Rowan, Barrister with Rowan, Dunvil and Welker – property and acquisitions lawyer
  • Queen Bee’s Nest – pub in Nightmarket where the gang dropped off a message to The Hive.


Clocks are hitting the table and I’m also looking at the clocks in the book that go with each faction, particularly clocks for The Hive, the Bluecoats and the Billhooks but also thinking about the coming gang-war between the Red Sashes and the Lampblacks as fun background noise.

Cog 4

Blue Coats Hunt Down Shannon, 0 of 4

Cog 8 complete

Learn the True Nature of the Artifacts, 8 of 8

Maude completed the clock, letting her know all about the Goat-Matron’s altar and the names of the Saint of Witches’ children.

attune 666


Three 6’s on the attune role when learning about the blood altar to a goat-headed witch-saint. LOVE IT.

Cog 1 of 6

Maud Becomes High Priestess of the Goat Matron, 1 of 6

Cog 3 of 4

The Hive Seeks Recompense from Charming, 3 of 4

This last one is like throwing a grenade into the game after the fuse is just about gone. Charming got his time-piece by menacing the mercantile conglomerate’s barrister but he’ll have to pay the price for it eventually. See below for more on this interaction.


Jay had asked that we spend more time in-character this game and get to know our characters a bit. I welcomed that suggestion and tried to step sideways to the mechanics and encourage free play as much as possible. This meant that Downtime took a while and we didn’t get to the Job but that is okay. I feel like we fleshed out the gang and breathed some life into our Duskwall.

Sean joined us and he knows this game backwards and forwards. We would’ve done fine with downtime on our own but he helped us realize the importance of teamwork, even during downtime along with a thousand other details he informed us of quickly, rather us looking it up.

Sean gave us good pointers. I think we used a bit more teamwork than we would have in our downtime.

I’m going to read up on Stress & Trauma and Consequences & Harm. I feel like I’m not comfortable with the link between those mechanics and Action Rolls. I need to refresh.

I’ d like to look at one scene in particular:

[I’ll have the youtube video set to this scene later]

Charming wanted the barrister’s time-piece. Crow wanted Charming to chill so that the gang could secure The Hive as a source of lucrative jobs. It was a tense moment. Sean jumped in as a rules moderator, letting us know our options. Jay and Pete checked in one with another throughout. It was good stuff and a clock was created out of it. I liked how they both stayed respectful towards each other’s characters; there was affection between Charming and Crow even as they disagreed that was nice.

Those moments are tricky. I don’t want a fractured gang messed up by infighting but some friction is fun.


It is an odd thing to have a video record of a game. It was surprisingly fun having a dozen or so folks (mostly friends and online friendly acquaintances) in chat, cheering the game on. Thank you to everyone who watched, thanks to the Actual Play Team for hosting our game and thanks to Sean for walking us through this process.

Actual Play – Sword Kids (6/17/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Morgan Ellis, Mike Olson, Austin Lemke, and Kevin Lemke
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: Doskvol Riots

In which we learn that every once in a while, with perhaps a bit if GM encouragement, Blades might actually try to make a difference and make things better in Doskvol. They’ll do it by kidnapping rich people’s (adult) children and holding them ransom, but they’ll do it to make a difference!

In my Doskvol Riots score there is an option for what kind of score you want to do which reads:

Creating Change. You believe in the cause. Who do you care about and how have they suffered? Who needs to go down for things to change? What will you do to them? Ask the  Creating Change. You believe in the cause. Who do you care about and how have they suffered? Who needs to go down for things to change? What will you do to them? Ask the GM how they are prepared for you. 

Before this game everyone who read that option said some variation of “hah, as if!” and them moved onto one of the other two more self interested options (Smoke Screen and Supplying one Side). However when Mike Olson was deciding which option to take (we pass the sheet around the table allowing people to make choices and then others to answer the question in italics) he actually considered choosing that option and with a bit of a nudge he went for it!

The Situation

The Coalridge Minors have been trying to form a union for years, and union breakers (like our crew here, the Sword Kids) have been making sure that didn’t happen. Under the employment of Foreman Slane, they’ve been leg breaking and fire making to keep would be organizers from… organizing.

But that changed when Bell Brogan, a noble who gave up her life of luxury to join the coal miners and organizing them to throw off the shackles of their cruel employers, started causing trouble for Foreman Slane. To shut them down Slane had the Sword Kids light fighter to a building known to house many of the coal miners. Few were hurt in the fire it (it was lit while everyone was at work) but all of these families lost their homes and their possessions. Slane meant it as a message, to turn the tide of dissidence, but his actions were only fuel on the fire!

Meanwhile, Slanes employer, Laudius Bowmore arrived on Coalridge announcing a relief effort to help all the now homeless members of Coalridge. He and his family were also going to host a town hall to hear all of their grievances. The Sword Kids however, knew this was all for show. The Bowmore’s didn’t care about the people, they just wanted to quell the rioting. They would make empty promises that would never be filled, and once again convince the miners that their best option was to go back to work, accept what meager scraps could be offered to them, and in all other ways accept a worse life than they had before.

The Sword Kids

Bell, who was actually part of a noble family, grew up with Adric Keel, another noble whose parents never expected anything of him, but who wanted to make a difference. Much to his parents dismay, Adric joined the Bluecoats, and because of his lineage, was instantly appoint as a watch commander. Because he didn’t spend much time on the street, it took him a while to realize that the Bluecoats were just criminals with a chain and a fancy coat. And when he tried to expose the corruption he found it went all the way to the top. He also found out that the squeaky wheel gets the grease hammer. He was kicked off the force and disowned by his parents for being such a disgrace.

Adric, who had been given the name “Blue” by every criminal on the street who still thought he was a Bluecoat at heart hooked up with his drug dealers (hey, he might want to make a change, but that doesn’t make him an angel) Timoth, who in turn brought along two Skovlanders, who smuggled the drugs, Skannon and Brace. This sad lot had all been beaten up by Doskvol in one way or another. Brace was a Skov refugee that got gang pressed onto the Nightbreaker, Lord Strangford’s notoriously dangerous to crew Leviathan Hunter. Skannon, who had fought beside Brace in the Unity War, signed on voluntarily to get him off the ship, but needed both Blue and Timioth’s help to do it.

Since then, the Sword Kids had fallen in with Foreman Slane, doing work Adric never thought he would, until it went to far and they turned against their employer.

The Score

To make a difference they would:

  • Convince Bell she needed to lay low (a Flashback once they realized that assassins were hired to remove her)
  • Break into the Bowmore’s estate in Coalridge (they only stayed there when making a civil gesture or when their family home was undergoing repairs)
  • Poison and kidnap the Bowmore children (who were 17 and 19 and first put up a formidable resistance in the form of a sword fight)
  • Convince the housekeeper not only that she should stay quiet but she remembered Adric from when he was young, and that “I didn’t set out to do crime” but now crime was the only way to make thinks better, and that she should help them escape the house with the two paralyzed Bowmore’s in tow.
  • Create a fantastic explosion as a diversion to distract the rioters outside and sneak to a boat which they had waiting nearby to sneak away with the price.

What Rocked

I really liked the use of clocks in this game. We had several tensions rising around the people being mollified, Bell being assassinated, and, Bell who they called a friend, learning that the started the fire. I was particularly impressed that when the “Assassinate Bell” clock was 3/4 full, Timoth called for that flashback to warn her that they were about to do something dangerous and that she should watch her back. It caused all kinds of tensions between them (she wanted to lead the resistance) but with a lot of work they won her over and knocked that clock down and kept her alive.

There was some really morally grey areas here, but I wanted the players to decide where the stood. This was the first group I’ve seen that actually said they wanted to do some good, and it was great watching them try despite how hard it was. And even then, poisoning a noble’s children and kidnapping them, it’s hardly behavior that you can excuse, but to them it was for a greater good. I wouldn’t call the Sword Kids “good” people, but having the discussions they did in game (and in character) was really wonderful.

The crew’s name came as this off handed comment. Something like “Do all you kids have swords?” and then it just turned into, yeah, we’re the Sword Kids. And boom, crew name!

What could have improved

I felt like I got really good hooks in the game for Adric/Blue, and towards the end for Timoth, but not so much for Skannon and Brace. I think it’s an easy crutch for me in a con game to grab onto one character’s heritage or background and play off that, when I should really be doing a better job of incorporating them all in.

Actual Play – The Nail and Bottle (6/16/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Pamela Alexander, John Alexander, Clark Valentine, and Jeff Kosko
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: Doskvol Riots

Skovlan Refugees are rioting because the brigade watched as their homes went up in flames. What will our scoundrels do about it? Claim turf in the midst of the carnage!

My notes for this game are scattered, so we have a bunch of puzzle pieces here, which might just all fit together (or might not):

  • Bazso Baz, secretly a lover, wants to retire. Gone missing after the fire.
  • Flint, used to move spectral product together with our Whisper Echo.
  • LaRose the Bluecoat, a smug cur who loves to feel superior.
  • The Nail and Bottle, used to belong to the Lampblacks, now run by the Bluecoats.
  • Target: Casslyn Slane, a minor noble assigned to be watch commander of a Bluecoat regiment, trying to advance up the ranks and get out of this crappy job.
  • Melvir, used to run the Nail and Bottle Drav Maroden, friend of the crews. Used to run the Nail & Bottle, now run by Drav Maroden, a Bluecoat.
  • Echo rallied up a group of cultists (Vestine, Orlan, Kelyrn, and Wicker) and together they assaulted the Bluecoats in the Nail and Bottle.
  • The Nail and Bottle was barricaded because of the riots. People killing each other in the streets and the Bluecoats doing nothing about it except saving their own skins.
  • The job was smooth, our cutter got a job as a bouncer. Our Skovlan hound went in as bait (he knew he’d get picked on, which they used pretense for starting the fight). Our slide sneaked in the back with our Whisper.
  • It all went down in a bloodbath, but eventually Casslyn was slain and the Nail & Bottle was theirs for the taking!

What Rocked

It was freaking awesome to game with John, Pamela, Clark, and Jeff. I know my notes are spotty, but I do remember vividly how well they portrayed their characters.

What could have improved

Dang, not only did I not take pictures of my notes, I also lost most of them, so I had to put this together mostly from memory. I’m still digging for those index cards!

Actual Play – The Church Job (6/15/2017)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Carl Schnurr, Rob Donoghue, Chad Patterson, Aaron Sturgill
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: Doskvol Riots

I brought the riots to Origins and a riot we had. The Spirit Wardens, everyone’s favorite bogeymen, had burned a witch to break the will of the conscripted Leviathan Hunters, and it had of course, gone horribly wrong.

Elsabeth, a student at Charterhall had been speaking on behalf of the rights of Doskvol citizens and revealing the injustices inflicted upon the citizenry, particular those forced to sail the void sea. When normal methods of silencing her failed, the Spirits Wardens escalated to dire measures and they used the Heart of Kotar, an artifact that was presumed missing, to light a fire that would utterly destroy a demon engulfed in it, and burned Elsabeth on top of it, under the auspices of her being a demon herself.

When this happened the citizens were pushed too far and with Kolin as their leader, took to rioting in the streets of Brightstone, surrounding The Sanctorium, watching the fire that burned not 100 yards from it’s doors.

And my scoundrels used that as a smokescreen to sneak into the Sanctorum from the canals below, make off with the Bank of the Dead (material property taken from the dead), and zip line out of a belfry just as the bombs that Kolin and his crew planted went off!

What Rocked

This was my most Leverage-style of Blades games I’ve run. Rob really figured out how to make flashbacks and his Spider’s forsight work in awesome ways. The did the church job and they did it with style.

A fun twist that we didn’t end up using, but I liked just the same, was that the Lampblacks were working with the Leviathan Hunters to press gang citizens by taking the drunkest (and often the worst customers) and getting them on the ships after they’ve passed out.

What could have improved

Because they were so good at evading people we had very little NPC interaction, which is where I think my strengths lie. Most of the challenges were against the environment, or the encroaching threats. The challenges were solid, but they felt but their nature, less interesting that those with people involved.

Related to that, though the riots are meant to be central to the score (and they were certainly the impetus for the score happening in the first place) they felt far away from the action. There is some sense to that though, the players chose the “smoke screen” option, and they allowed the riots to run unimpinged and they robbed the church while everyone inside was distracted.

Actual Play – One Last Job (6/14/2017)

GM: Mark Diaz Truman
Players: Sarah Richardson, Liz Chaipraditkul, Brendan Conway, Karen Twelves, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark
Score: One Last Job

Mark reached out just before Origins about trying out a on shot Score at Origins. Karen and I were pretty intrigued, always curious what folks are doing with Blades!

Marks setup was a very cool one (in fact, I’d like to bottle it up in a one page score if he’s interested). We were all hardened criminals who had a powerful crew, but we got sold out by one of our own and served a long time in Ironhook. Now that we’re out all our old resources have dried up, been acquired by others, or otherwise turned against us. All we have is each each other and a healthy appetite for revenge against the one that sold us all down the river.

Mechanically to show this Mark did two cool things.

  1. He asked us all questions about our crew and about the person who sold us out. In this we developed both our crew background and our future score.
  2. He told us all to take one trauma for being in Ironhook and then offered us all extra action dots and special abilities at the cost of additional trauma, which I think is a really eloquent way of depicting progression in a Blades game. By the end of character creation all but one of us were teetering on the edge of of being lost to our vices. We were a cold, vicious, unstable lot!

Mark also let us play with the advanced playbooks, so Karen play a vampire named Skannon Rockport, the product of a botched job by my Whisper. When Cross, a Skovlan woman died in Ironhook, Una forced her soul into the body of someone who was about to get out, one Aldo Vale! Aldo is an Akrosi man, and though Skannon is in full control of the body, Aldo’s thoughts and personality kept bubbling to the surface. Skannon continued to go by her old alias Cross, even when in Aldo’s body. The challenges she faced returning to his old home life and trying to desperate her memories from his were amazing.

We figured out that our crew mate Vond was too stupid to ever come up with a scheme like this, but that she had made a deal with Lord Strangford to deliver a demon to him, and part of that deal was also giving us all up. Because of this, and because of my mad love/hate relationship with Strangford, I decided to play Una Stanford, the lord’s disowned daughter. So good!

What Rocked

Mark had us figure out what our actual score would be build-a-bear style by going around and having each of us gather some information about the score (robbing Vond) and thus also detailing the world. This was really smart because by the end the whole setup felt much more personal and real, and our goal was super clear. It also let us establish that Vond was completely a puppet of the demon now, and thus we had to decide if we wanted to ally with the demon, avoid it’s notice, or openly defy it. Take a guess what a horribly traumatized group would do.

Being the bad asses that we were, this game was full of a ton of flashbacks that made every step we made make sense. Even when we botched a roll and ran into trouble, the flashbacks showed how it was part of the plan, or how we were prepared for it. I love that mechanic in general, but with this group we made it really sing.

Despite being some really hardened people, I loved our crew’s loyalty to each other. We’re all we had left!

Mark’s depictions of NPCs is so great. Our old caretaker was earnest in want to take care of us, but being to beat up and too far out of the game to really do any help. Vond was earnest in being completely out of her depths with the deal she arranged. She was a de facto cult leader but had no idea what her cult was all on about. It was Fight Club where she was Ed Norton/The Narrator and the Demon was Brad Pitt/Tyler Durden.

The radiant plans that emitted a sedative in the air… how fucking cool is that!

Mark’s demons are way the heck scarier than mine. I mean, really damn scary. *shudder*

“She was so simple when she came to me, You think you can take her from me. Do not change what I’ve made!”

What could have improved

Though I loved my relationship with Cross (the Whisper that saved her spirit by doing a botched possession) because of our seating arrangement and because of being the “weird” one I had some trouble figuring out bonds with other characters. I intentionally framed some of my scenes with Rail and Skinner, but overall didn’t feel like I made as strong of bonds as I could have. When Brendan used the the Mastermind ability to LITERALLY take a bullet for me, I was delighted as all heck, but wished I had a scene before that where we established our ties to each other more.

Actual Play – Farewell Arquo (6/6/2017)

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

In which the Society is paid by Sukur, decide they are going to kill him since he won’t let them use the hand, and Arquo sacrifices himself to save the crew when they destroy a Spirit Well.

A few of the high beats:

  • Sukur (demonologist, calculating, vile, energetic) is like a kid in a candy ship when Roric and the Hand arrive. He quickly has his servant Wend pay off the Society and sends them out of his manor (but within the camp) to have their needs met.
  • Ro tries to convince Sukur to borrow the Hand for a job (leaning on their reputation as being professional) but he’s too excited to consider the offer seriously [1/8 ticks to borrow it].
  • Wend, the moment she is outside the presence of Sukur reveals she has no love for the man and hates her new position.


We spent a bit of time with Harland, finding him beat up and preaching on top of a crate. Brie, the friend of Hix took objection but the bonded over an ugly fist fight and Brie (a Deathlands Scavenger) and won her over, she joined the True Path.

Bellweather Crematorium

Elke made a deal with Maury (who works for Strangford as a liaison from the city council to the Spirit Wardens) that she would help the Spirit Wardens if he delivered a message to Arquo for her. (She had to do a whole lot of pissing off the Spirit Wardens just to get the audience with Maury).

The note simply read “Stay away from my family!”

Back in the Lost District

  • Lightning storms were raging through the deathlands and one of the generators exploded. [2/6 Destroyed]
  • Wend became Ro’s temporary vice purveyor (in the form of hot baths and nice things)
  • Jadvyga sneaked into the manor and spotted Sukur first meeting with Roric and then taking the hand into the basement of the building to meet with six Reconciled ghosts. Here’s all the transpired: Roric is going to kill Lady Drake (who we found out from flashbacks is actually Roslyn Kellis!), Sukur met wit the Reconciled and presented the Hand and they discussed their plans to take two seats on the city council.
  • Meanwhile, Ro noticed that Griggs had gone missing and together with Arquo discovered that she had gone into a passage under the manor. Once Jadvyga returned they followed her and found that she was performing a ritual in the presence of a spirit well. Ro and Jadvyga helped her complete the ritual but inadvertently unleashed all of the feral, damaged, and wrathful spirits within.
  • We cut back to a flashback of Hix making an electroplasmic bomb for Arquo, and then forward to Arquo ordering everyone to run, just before he pulled the plunger and destroyed the spirits as they tried to escape, along with himself and most of the cave!

What Rocked

Arquo, wow. What a sacrifice. After the game we talked a lot about what that means for Adrienne. Is Arquo a ghost? Could Setarra have saved him? Or is he just gone, gone, gone. After a bit of time between games we decided to leave it unknown. Ro, Jadvyga and Griggs all fled (Jadvyga stressed out and got a trauma watching Arqho do this) and it’s clear to all of them that nobody could have made it out of that cave.

What could have improved

I really need to create an Obsidian Portal campaign to keep track of all my NPCs. I get lost keeping track of their personalities, motivations, and what they’ve done already in our game. Plus with all this city council intrigue… it’s a lot to keep straight and at some points I know I mixed up different folks motivations (Griggs, Roric, Sukur, and the Reconciled all want different things).


Actual Play – The Hand of Kotar (6/4/2017)

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

Put a box in an game and a PCs ins going to open it. Unless it contains the Hand of Kotar and secured accordingly (blabbermouth Roric!). We played an extra session, and a long one at that. The Society allied with Roric to go to the lost district (it’s what he wanted), delivered him and the box to Lord Sukur in the lost district, and then spent some downtime in his deathlands estate.

Some highlights:

  • Griggs, won over by Ro, showed them a secret spirit well (which she hid even from the other Gondoliers) and used it to help Yadvyga transition back from the ghost field (though she got up to 3/4 ghost in the process).
  • Griggs also revealed that the spirit well was filled with deformed and damaged spirits, literally fed on by other ghosts to maintain their sanity. And this was how Roric became Reconciled!
  • On their way out of the city, as their barge got close to the lightning barrier there was a shot across their bow as another ship tried to sink them. First mate of the Ironmast, Kamelin Prichard!
  • Jadvyga researched the Hand of Kotar (with help from dean Thena Hellyers) and finding out that it can severe a demon’s hold on a mortal. Sparky! [2/6 Ticks]


  • Coin: 6 (Sukur paid them in actual old imperial coin)
  • Rep: 5
  • Heat: 6
  • Entanglement: Demonic Notice (A being appeared in the form of a lightning storm wreaking havoc on the lightning generators in an attempt to expose Arquo, the agent of Seterra to the hungry dead).

What Rocked

It was super cool having adventures out in the Deathlands and I’m excited that once they saw it the Society was like “oh yeah, this is our next claim!”


Actual Play – The Black Tree (5/30/2017)

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

Ro, Jadvyga, and Arquo entered The Black Tree (named for the petrified roots that enveloped it) the intent to bring back Roric and the box he was supposed to possess (own, not the other kind of possess).

They did it, and with spaces. Here’s a few highlights about how:

  • Ro chatted up Mist, the very tall bouncer at the door.
  • Jadvyga got the lay of the land from Pool (cavalier, daring, quiet) the bartender working that night.
  • Arquo surveyed the room and found Roric, but in doing so annoyed several of the guests who felt scrutinized [2/4 ticks on the “Your Face Pisses me off” clock]
  • Jadvyga talked with two other Tycherosi about how they could get through the lightning barrier and got the name of a smuggler who is part of the Vultures named Yasmin [acquire assert] by impressing them. They were Lannic and expert art forger and Veleris, a powder dealer.
  • Watching a fight in the Lighting Dome, the illegal whisper fights where each whisper vies for control of feral ghost which is the send to devour the loser.
  • While Arquo and Ro chatted up Roric and convinced him to meet them on account of important business with Elke and the Spirit Wardens, Jadvyga prowled behind him and attuned to deteremine that he was keeping the box in the ghost field. Though she did not have the training to so, Jadvyga forced herself into the ghost field and grabbed the book, but then found she was stuck there and couldn’t get out [2/4 in the “You’re a Ghost Now” clock]

What Rocked

I love it when someone tries to do something that a special ability they don’t have, because then I’ve got justification for a) this is possible, b) maybe after this you’ll take that move and c) it should be VERY difficult to do it without the ability. So when Jadvyga tried the desperate action to shift into the ghost field, it worked just a little bit too well and she didn’t know how to get back. It was great.

It is always a mystery to me what NPCs will interest players. Roric has all this backstory and prestige, but wasn’t as exciting as the very tall Mist, who Ro decided he must have!

Arquo stressed out during the coversation with Roric, which was great because we had to answer the question of how is Arquo taken out of the scene and the answer we decided on was “Setarra steps in to give him a hand, and for a bit, wears him like a meat suit.” I’m not sure that’s a think Setarra can do, but since he’s bound to her, they were right by the water, and he was unable to defend himself, it seemed like it be worth a try. The Results were delightful! (Spoiler, Setarra tried to eat Roric, but was slowed by Ro, and Roric slipped away).

What could have improved

Keep your motivations simple. I felt like several of NPCs (Corro, Griggs, and Roric) weren’t displayed consistently or believably because internally I wasn’t sure what their motivation and preferred means were. Gotta lock that down Sean, especially when there is a lot of intrigue in the air!