Actual Play – The 3 Skov Ghost Job (1/7/2018)

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

Judd wrote up a great AP report here.

Here’s a copy of the post:

In which the gang smuggles 3 patriotic Skovlander ghosts from the Lost District to Ulf Ironborn.

t was Jay and Sean – Charming and Maud. The timing for them to be in a mission together was kind of perfect, as they had a disagreement last game and Maud had stormed off.

Duskwall again

Taking lead from Jay who continues to name background Skovlander children as Charming acts as a babysitter, I mentioned a child gets back late one night with his blazer torn. He boasts that Ulf Ironborn paid him a bushel of apples to sneak under a fence and open a door so Ulf’s gang could murder a city councilor.

The child goes on to say that Ulf has a smuggling job for them if they want it.

Before deciding on jobs Maud and Charming visit Lord Scurlock to ask about demons. They tried to get Scurlock to commit to saying that he was dead against demons but he was non-committal. The vampire lord of Doskovol says that he could help them but his best book on demonology was stolen by the Dimmer Sisters.

They decided to wait for Skannon whose skills would be necessary when infiltrate the Dimmer Sisters and took Ulf’s smuggling job.

The Job with text

The 3 Skov Ghost job was given to them by Ulf’s second-in-command, Havid. They were to take the Blackjack out past the Lightning Barrier into the Lost District and an agent would be waiting for them there with 3 ghosts. They were to smuggle the 3 ghosts past the Lightning Barrier to Ulf and his crew who would be waiting in the basement of a public house on the docks.

Maud and Charming was not pleased with the unknowns and they pushed, using dice to find out more. It caused them some stress but in the end they found out that the ghosts were going to be put into Skovlander War Frames, as used on Barghast Beach, the bloodiest engagement of the War and the battle that forged his gang. Ulf was planning on using the warframes to cement his gang’s place.

As jobs go it went smoothly but there were hitches. The ghosts weren’t ghosts; they were people – members of a Skov special forces unit who were hit with a location spell by an Imperial War Whisper. If they entered the city they’d be located by the Imperial Army; it was in their blood. When Maud tried to cut the spell it nearly attached itself to her but she fought it off.

After discussing it, they decided that Charming could kill them quickly with a knife, which he did and then they’d wait for the ghosts to separate with some help from Maude. This was represented by a 6-count clock along with a second 6-count clock to represent a pack of ghosts finding the crew. Given the bad rep of the Deathlands and the Lost District, I should’ve made the pack of ghosts finding the crew clock a 4-count but that is alright.

Charming killed the Skov patriots with a knife. They held hands and sang Skovlander soldier songs while he did it.

Another hitch, Ironhook convicts came down the beach towards the crew. Charming confronted them while Maud dealt with peeling the ghosts away from the newly dead’s bodies.

Smuggling jobs, like stealth jobs, are tricky as a GM. I want complications but I don’t want the players to feel like their employer effed them over. I want the players to be cool but I don’t want the job to be too easy. I want ways for the job to get complicated without the players being bad at smuggling. I felt like I found a good balance. There was a bunch of stress but it didn’t go entirely pear-shaped. Nothing caught on fire or exploded.

There were ghosts and lots of danger; the Deathlands felt dangerous, even if it was just across the river, within sight of the Lightning Barrier.

The Mechanics in White

At the end of this game the Wobbegong Crew became Tier 2.

Ulf Ironborn is in play. The Skovlander refugees are a good link to him and he thinks well of the Wobbegong Crew because of their anti-trafficking efforts despite the side they took during the war. Also, he is the first gang of a lower tier than the players, which is cool. They get to be mentors.

There was word around town that the Lampblacks thought the Hive looked weak when their warehouse got taken so easily by the Wobbegong Crew, so they tried to take some Hive turf for their own. Since then, the Lampblacks have entirely disappeared. No one has heard anything about them.

Blades on Air

Actual Play – Bladesmas (12/17/2017)

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

Judd made a great write up here:

Here’s a copy of hos post:

In which the gang takes turf from the Hive.

On the first day of Bladesmas my scoundrels gave to me a spectre in a dead tree….

We had Maude, Charming and Skannon tonight. With 3 PC’s, we are tending to wait until we’ve got a full crew before playing lately. I liked the way having different characters in different jobs changed the way we’d approach each job or which job we’d take when offered a few.

Duskwall again

The Five Faces of the Moon – The teahouse Skannon often frequents when he pays for company.

Liz Lomond – reporter who brought the Hive’s human trafficking into the light.

Edlund – the “kindly” Bluecoat who always comes to talk the gang into taking a less bloody route.

Jol – the Bluecoat who took a crowbar to the Blackjack, the crew’s main boat.

Djera Maha and Karth Orris – leaders of The Hiven, NPC’s named in the book.

Narcus Comber – Hive’s Lawyer – the man Charming stole a watch from back in the early days, back before their HQ had a door and the barrister just walked in

Azin, Kimiya, Orkiden, Yass – Whispers with the Red Sashes – ladies who can go from frightening witches to doting grandmothers in the spin of a penny.

Barghast Bay – the bloodiest engagement in the War is where this gang was forged and is mentioned often.

Jonah – a mischievous Skovlander child who mistreated Skannon’s dining room table. Jason is often dropping the names of children during the game as we see Charming trying to be a baby-sitter.

The Job with text

As per their peace agreement with the Red Sashes, they returned the Upper Deck, turf taken during the war, but the Red Sashes had to aid them in taking a warehouse from the Hive. They took it using magic, knowing that the arcane arts and ectoplasmic sciences are weak points in the Hive’s arsenal.

The sent the fermenting mass of ghosts from the bilge of the Upper Deck, which had been used by some long gone gang as a place to stow bodies, into the Hive’s warehouse and managed to control it, keeping the situation from becoming a cannibalistic mess. The group made their rolls for the most part and utilized a weakness in the Hive, an unwillingness to utilize ghosts and sorcery. A roll demanded a complication, and so the warehouse is now forever haunted.

As a result, the Hive offered Maud and Skannon jobs and had a talk with Charming about why they did what they did. They offered Maud an estate in Six Towers with a view of the Scurlock Manor and offered Skannon his family’s ancestral ship, now docked just within the Lightning Barrier.

Now the group has a haunted warehouse full of Skovlander refugees as turf. Good stuff.

The Mechanics in White

The mechanics brought an entanglement in which the Bluecoats took out their anger on the Blackjack. I also consider the NPC’s mentioned in the faction section as part of the mechanics. The personalities and links between gangs and factions is well wrought.  Pluck one string and it causes ripples throughout Doskovol.

Blades on Air

Actual Play – Spirit Wardens Most Wanted (12/12/2017)

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

Notes I jotted down months ago. I pray they make some sense

Last time two spirit wells formed a spectral repulsion that destroyed all spectral matter in the vicinity, and a lightning bolt destroyed the top third of Bellweather. This making the Doskvol Spectral Society the most wanted criminals in the Spirit Wardens minds.

  • 10 Heat (Devastating Exposure, Hostile Turf, Well Connected Targets, Killing Involved)
  • 6 Rep
  • Faction Status: Spirit Wardens dropped to -3 (at war), Leviathan Hunters +2, Skurlock +1


Elke, went to Wend to be tended to (hiding out in the Six Arms, the Devil Hunters Hall is under lockdown by the Wardens and Bluecoats). Wend was able to hear her normal would, but also found that the sparkcraft in her neck had been damaged during the explosion, and if she could open up the area and get very precise tools in there to separate the entwined wires… so she dove in, and had to cut away more to to remove them [Desperate Tinker, Mixed Result, Caused Level 3 Harm and removed the Spirit Warden brand.

Jadvyga hided out with her friend Frake (cold, shrewd, fierce), who reached out to Malcolm Dundridge to get a new set of clothes from him. She was cut to pieces but sought a new outfit rather than ministration to her wounds (Indulge Vice). Frake didn’t want any trouble, didn’t spare any sympathies for Jadvyga either, but he owed her.

Elke and Nyryx connected, Nyryx possessed her to comfort her [Recovery]

Hix took a look further, into the ghost world behind the vale…

Actual Play – Into Bellweather (12/7/2017)

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

Notes I jotted down months ago. I pray they make some sense

Through her contact Elke was able to gain entrance back into Bellweather, where they delivered the lightning cage….just as the power to it was failing!

Elke continued to power the field with her Tempest but it only last a moment. She needed an incredible amount of energy to sustain it.

Yadvyga tapped into her demonic nature and took it’s form.

  • A sea demon, humanoid with bestial features.
  • Hard carapace of metal plates.
  • Razor sharp claws
  • Glassy crab eyes
  • Forked tongue and split mandibles.
  • Kylastra!

Hix, terrified, but also seeing a possibility attached her electorplasimc conduits into the cage and plunged the receptors on the other end into the demon in front of her. If refined blood would power the cage, perhaps pure blood from a living demon, ignited by the Keeper of the Flame, could do the same! Acting as a human conduit she funnelled enough energy in to the cage to keep it sealed… and to reveal Kylastra and the Keeper of the Flame to all the Spirit Wardens in the Bellweather.

They were… surprised. As was the Keeper, who screamed a whisper of truth into Hix’s mind “The dependence on demons will be the downfall of humanity.”

A Fine Entrance

When the senior wardens arrived, Elke told them that they must take the lighting cage to the incinerator, otherwise 144 ghosts would break free and if they were lucky just kills us all, if we weren’t form a spirit well right here in the Bellweather!

This… was a compelling argument, but so was the demon in their antechamber! The Warden split. One masked warden to take them to the incinerator and the others to stay (with a Hull) to capture the demon in their presence.

The Ghost Field

An electroplasmic arrestor shot from the chest of the hull and flew towards Kylastra. Meanwhile the two masked wardens began dragging a chain around her and beginning a ritual that hasn’t been performed in their lifetime.

Yadvyga attempted to enter the ghost field but her new physiology was incompatible, and so, had to shed her demonic form. Literally, ripping the carapace from her skin to enter the ghost field and disappear. [Ouch, it was level 4 harm, resisted down to level 3]

Into the Crematorium

Hix and Elke convinced the spirit wardens to try putting the lightening cage into the incinerator, which they learned also has a spirit well in it, it’s what they use to make sure ghosts don’t escape.  What happens when two spirit wells collide? That’s just what Elke, Hix and Scurlock want to know.

And the answer is:

  • A spirit warden took her mask off, called herself Leanna and told Elke she needed to leave Doksvol, and never return.
  • She also told them that Bazran was a spy for the Spirit Wardens and had been reporting on the Spectral Society for over a year.
  • Oh, and a massive explosion rocked Bellweather, destroyed the incinerator, nearly killed Hix and Elke (also destroyed the spirit cocoon in Hix) and,
  • The opposing polarity of the spirit wells repulsed all ghost matter away from them (in other parts of the tower, ejecting Yadvyga, violently, from the ghost field)

One Last bit of Business

Yadvyga, bleeding, concussed, and confused, made her way to the top of Bellweather, found the room that Naria Strangford was held in and affixed the token Needle provided her on the door, and then took a big step back, just before a storm cloud formed above and lightning struck the tower, blowing up a huge section of it, including the protections around Naria’s chambers. Dragging herself a long, Yadvyga helped Naria leap from debris down into a hay cart below (heck yeah flashbacks!)

Actual Play – Indulgences (11/28/2017)

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

Notes I jotted down months ago. I pray they make some sense

All hands downtime action – Chaterhall Crew performing practices in the Doskvol canals (reducing heat).

Hix’s mastermind action – Send them out again to setup a course that would be a cover for sneaking boats into the deathlands (reducing heat).

Elke investigated who trashed the wards at the Devil Hutner’s Hall, and sending the spectral defenders out, they came back with Eren (ghost), held in Myst’s body (ghost passage ability), who they then interrogated and tried to win her over to the true path (1/4 ticks).

They also continued to work on a cure for the drowning plague (2/8 ticks). (Long Term Project)

Wend went to the Black Tree (underground) and gabled on the Whisper Lightning Cage Fights. The Red Claw vs. Atrius. The Red Claw won and then went onto face She who Slays. (Indulge Vice)

Haland tended to by Wend to treat his pneumonia and found his lung had been punctured. Yikes (Recover)

Elke tended to by Wend, who discovered the Spirit Warden brand was actually wires fused into her blood vessels. Some very advanced Sparkcraft! She could help her other injuries though (Recover)

Hix continued to study the metaphysical weight of the soul and looked to what happen as the spirit passes from the body at death. She found it is called to another realm which has it’s own force (the Spectral Force) and if one was to detach and seek it out, they could enter the Ghost Realm (Long Term project, complete).

Some notes after the game

What does Scurlock want now?

Short term – to test his theory that two adjacent spirit wells with opposite polarity could create a force that would repulse spectral energies. Long term? To give “life” to Bastion. Longer term still, to be reunited with Elise Salkaran (Elke’s grandmother).

Actual Play – Let’s Go Get Ring, but later (11/14/2017)

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

Notes as I have them

Months later, these don’t quite make sense to me, but I’m transcribing them!

Let’s go get ring!

Path of Echoes includes: Penderyn, Vond/Cricket, Skinner, Ring.

Visit the Leaky Bucket

  • Cross is there, eager to see them.
  • He’s lost a day (while a Spirit Warden cloud covered Crow’s Foot)
  • Picket is deathly sick (remnants of being possessed by the ghost dragon). Elke begins research to recover from harmful possession.
  • Wester is not happy to see them and madder still when he found out Ring had rejoined the Path of Echoes. He set off to find her (and was not seen again).
  • Bazso there negotiating with Lyssa but from them listening in, she was inscrutable (constantly changing her mind).



Actual Play – A job for Skurlock (11/7/2017)

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

Notes as I have them. The Offer

Elke and crew paid a surprise visit to Scurlock, were terrified of the ghosts trapped in the waters outside below his manor.

Scurlock shows concern (genuine?) for Elke, and disdain or indifference for her servants (the other PCs)

He presents them a small but increcibly intricate lighting cage (carried by Bastion), which he wants them to put in the furnace of Bellweather. (note, not a coincidence. He told Elke he wanted her to get something into Bellweather a long time ago, the society just decided as long as they were going in there, they might as well get two jobs done at once. No sweat!)

Hix recognizes the cage as something crafted by Una Farros (Sparkwright).

Let’s think on this

Back in the Devil Hunter’s Hall the cage is studied and found to have not one or two, but many many more. Soldiers, housekeepers, goat herders, midwives, adepts, chimney sweeps, factory workers. 144 in all.

Harland (erm professor Harland) summons Una to look at the box, but she arrives with Argus and Beaumont, who have been wanting to see the Hall now that it’s back in use (mixed result).

Yadvyga distracted the other two professors with a tour of the building while Elke took Una down to the lab to ask about the cage. Una was surprised to see it still existed! It was a theoretical marvel but once created, her research was stopped because of the potential that a critical mass inside could form a spirit well once they were released. She never got to see what happened.

Other affairs

Hix meetings Needle (who she pissed off by asking about Master Slane’s books?) and took the job (and found out about Master Slane).

Yadvyga finished he ritual to trap a the demon Setarra, which requires removing her from her element, but that also required Yadvyga to remember back to her own demonic heritage. She saw a dying demon passing on their power into a human and knows that she opened a conduit her demon ancestor. And with this connection open she will never be able to return to Tycheros.


Actual Play – After the Demon Disaster (11/5/2017)

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

In which the team deals with the fallout from failing the Coalridge Demon job…starting in the stark white cells of the Spirit Wardens. Judd made a great write up here:

Judd’s Write up

It was fun starting the game off with Maude and Charming being held by the Spirit Wardens while Skannon was at the HQ, having entirely missed the Coalridge Demon job. Cutting between these 3 different points of view for the first hour was satisfying.

I liked how those opening minutes colored the downtime – from Charming adopting a demonic persona in his fight career, taking on the name Atreus (the demon they failed to kill in last session’s job), how Maude is suspected of being a snitch because she was caught by the Spirit Wardens and Skannon getting invited to the Doskvol University to hear Professor “Bakoros” speak.

We only got to some downtime but it was great to be back in Duskwall with these scoundrels.

The Mechanics in White

I’m getting a better and better grasp on the way limited success and failures work and how to best deal with them in a given situation.

Something I love about the Blades in the Dark book is whenever I look at it I come away inspired. I had to glance at it today when I wanted the Spirit Wardens to knock on the Wobbegong Crew’s door. Would it be a masked Spirit Warden? Do they have a mouth-piece, someone who is seen without a mask? Professor “Bakoros” was there waiting for me.

Right there in the NPC’s section on page 296 was Bakoros, the pseudonym of their academic face. I loved the idea of this kindly old professor knocking on the door of this Imperial SWAT Ghostbusters. Skannon, with his noble family background, suave air and scientific curiosity was the perfect scoundrel to meet him. When Pete told me that he almost stabbed the professor and sacrificed him to the Witch Matron on her altar, I was in shock. He decided not to do that but what a shockingly different game that would’ve been.

Duskwall again We saw the inside of the Doskvol Academy, a Spirit Warden safehouse/interrogation chamber and the manor of a group of rich cultists whose members include the prestigious Rowan family (and who knows how many others?).

We know that the Hive are at war with the Unseen, who are trying to infiltrate the Spirit Wardens. We’re getting embroiled in rivalries way above the Crows, Lampblacks, Red Sashes and Billhooks. Good stuff!

There is an odd, almost grudging respect towards the Spirit Wardens from the crew that I found fascinating.

Quess, the maid in service to the Witch Matron’s Brightstone Temple.

I picture Quess as being played by Lydia Night, lead singer of the Regrettes, shown below in their video for Seashore.


Timoth Rowan, the teacher’s assistant Skannon took out for drinks to get more information about why ghosts attach themselves to a certain place from their lives, gaining 5 ticks on that long-term project.

Timoth is going to be a blend of every beleaguered grad student Pete and I knew from our days in Ithaca, N.Y.

Atreus, up and coming Pankration heavyweight who moves like a middle-weight and is drawing strange uptown high society folk to his fights. He wears a demon mask and totally isn’t Thaddeus “Charming” Thimbleford, Cutter for the Wobbegong Crew. That idea is just preposterous!


Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Corliss Bevel-Gear-Cutting Machine. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>;.
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Wm. Hawes in front of jewelry store with intricate clock.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Grand View, City and Canal, Syracuse, N.Y.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1880.
 The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The transportation problem. The Baxter boat “City of New York,” the fastest steamer tried on the Erie Canal” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1825.

Actual Play – Buzz on Canal Street (10/31)

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

Last Time

Paid of Sergeant Lochlan (shrewd, tough, commanding) to look the other way.

Convinced Corran not to fully trust Eren (aunt, dead)

Elke made enemies with both of them.

Buzz on the Street

Spirit Wardens called form all the districts to investigate demonic presence in the Docks. People on dry land are drowning spontaneously.

Nightbreaker still at sea (won’t dock) despite orders from the Ministry. Electroplasm in the city is running low.

Lord Sukur [who we know is possessed by Roric] returns from the Lost District!

Entanglement and other fallout

Eren trying to breaking into the Devil Hunter’s Lodge but is foiled by the wards Elke placed.

Rosslyn (aka Lady Drake) asks Jadvyga if she knows anything about the death of Captain Lannock (they are trying to pin it on a city council member)

Needle finds out Elke was arrested and had been in Bellweather.


Hix gathers info! Rysus (longshoreman, tired, worried) set up a meeting with Needle (a Bluecoat agent of Lord Strangford), who has a job for her. The DSS is to bring an artifact (that looks like a dream catcher) to Naria Strangfold, currently a captive in Bellweather Crematorium. He also tells Hix that Strangford is planning a coup of the city council [Sean, why the heck did he spill these beans?]. Rysus is rewarded for setting up the meeting with a night of free drinking…and the attention of Needle.

Harland went to recruit new members to the True Path. Wisdom of the Ages (From the ghosts by the way of the Hand of Kotar?). Finds potential recruits: isolated and socially awkward new students at Charterhall. [Indulging Vice]

Elke talks to Nyryx about how to hold onto four ghosts at a time [Indulging Vice]

Hix visits professor Montgomery Beaumont who tends to her wound and has theories about the divine presence enshrined in the Rail Jack’s arm [Recovery]

After game thougths

Scurlock wants to bring his son to life. Bastion can only stay in the hull for short periods of time. Every time he goes in he looses some of his free will. Bastion is the creation of Skurlock and Elke’s grandmother?


Actual Play – Peace Made in Tangletown (9/26/2017)

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

Notes I jotted down before the game. Did these make sense back then?

Tentacle Monster Attacked their ship as they tried to dock. What the what even? (it was drawn to their lightning barrier hull)

At the meeting in Tangletown

  • Sergeant Lochlan (speaking for Captain Dunville)
  • Corran, in butchers garb cooking meat (fierce, loyal, quiet)
  • Erin (ghost, shrewd, tough, cunning)
  • Darmot, with the Bluecoats
  • Tor (Billhook, chewing, spitting, bored)

How it went down:

We’ were just doing a job: 6/6 Ticks filled and the Billhooks back off, but with the following consequences:

  • Corran will not rest until Elke is dead
  • Corran hates Elke but believes her that Erin isn’t totally stable. (A crack in their bond forms)
  • 4 coin spent to appease the Bluecoats as well as the Billhooks.


Unquiet Dead: Erin comes for retribution!

Faction Clocks Move

The Ministry is investigating the death of Captain Lannock. Rooting out seditionists and making an example of the Emperor’s might. Naria Strangford (the Lord’s daughter) brought on trial for harboring rogue spirits and practicing vamparism! Found guilty by Judge Mora and imprisoned in Bellweather.

Leviathan Hunters demand the Iruvian hunting grounds as theirs have all but run dry.

Ghosts are close to breaking free from the bonds that tether them to the Keeper’s lighting towers (3/4 ticks)