Actual Play – It all crumbles to ruin (5/15/2017)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark

“Time to blow some shit up and blame it on Scotsman Skovlanders.” “Let’s do some Rifts level Mega Damage.” “Your home planet needs you.”

The very short version of events:

  • The syndicate gathered in Tangletown, and Bazso Baz took hold of the reins. [Desperate situation. Bad Outcome. Much stress. New Trauma]
  • The Bloodletter came to pay tribute the Crows and once we had the gathered in the Crow’s Tower, used all those incredible munitions to blow the whole building, barely surviving ourselves.

Guns are like an erection. They are nice to have but pointless if you don’t use them for anything.” – Canter Haig… or maybe Adam Koebel.


Coin: 0 (but a fuckload of munitions)
Rep: 0 (we blamed it on the Skovlanders)
Heat: 0 (Heat held in escrow, to be determined based on what we do with the arms)
Entanglements: Unknown


Some time had passed so we opened up on the bottom of Scurlock Manor (the catacombs) literally filled to the brim with boxes of munitions. Canter is no longer allowed to smoke in the manor, but we put Oskarr’s Wierdos (the Adepts) in charge of watching over the explosives. We see a vignette of Cyclops dropping off the last box and then having to shimmy out of the room because there isn’t room to walk, then up some stairs past Bricks who was decked out in naval gear swinging a rifle around.

Arcy and Oskarr went through their adepts and determined that Talatha Slane was the one most capable of holding down office (Oskarr did this by interrogating them to find the best under pressure).

“Oskarr, your solution would be the most elegant.”
“Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s every said about me.”

Arcy rounded Talatha up and took her to Rolan Wott’s opulent office (filled with radiant energy plants and feinting couches) and together the three conspired to put her (Talatha) into office as City Council Adviser to the Spirit Wardens. [Long term project. 3/8 ticks].

Once the paperwork started, she also asked Rolan what files had come across his desk and asked him to squash them. [Reduce Heat]

[+1 Stress for not indulging her vice]

Canter visited Revka and told her he needed an outfit appropriate for blowing this up. Something that will make me look good at an explosion. Last look was goth necromancer look, this time she made him a costume evocative of Rail Jack attire, but customized to look like like dragons and beetles. She built a Jacob’s Ladder into the back to form the most baller of collars. [Indulge Vice and working on Long Term Project to make Revka into a friend]

Oskarr pulled some strings to build the Canter Haig home for Wayward Waifs. Oskarr and Anja held a party to raise funds for the orphanage. Anja encouraged the people to think of the children. Oskarr brought Frog, a big-eyed orphan child to open their wallets (thought he didn’t let them pick their pockets!). At the end of the party Anja presented a deed she had signed by a lord. [Long term project 7/8]. We also learned that Anja was very interested in the occult, fantasy adventure, and the opera.

Later we saw Oskarr as the Red Hand going to the underground spirit den and faced off against another whisper in a cage match to control an inhuman (deathlands) ghost and send it to destroy the other. The Red Hand vs. the Master of Chains. He not only enjoyed the match but also defeated his opponent [Indulge Vice. Crit!] Oskarr roared with victory!

Oskarr poured through his tombs in Scurlock Manor to see if he could learn how to give Setarra back a measure of free will and asked Seterra to aid him in understanding their new relationship [Gather information with Study. +1d for Setarra’s aid]. Oskarr apologized to Setarra for binding her and then sent to find a way to fix things. Unfortunately everything he read, and everything she told him led him to only one conclusion: She was now bound to his will [Bad Outcome].

[End of Downtime Actions. Heat reduced to 0 because of Cover Operation. Vice Den generated 6 coin. Arcy took 2 coin in her stash for Something on the Side]

Planning the Job

Downtime is over. Blow up time is on.  There was MUCH discussion about what to do with all the guns. Much!

After much debate we decided to call all the crews together (Bloodletters, Billhooks, Lampblacks, and the Grinders) to Tangletown to discuss the actions of the syndicate. Arcy did all she could to bring the syndicate together fast enough so they could still make the meeting with the crows [Consort. Partial Success. Angering the Syndicate 1/4]

Calling the Syndicate together in Tangletown

Tangletown is the hulk a leviathan hunter that beached here ages ago. The sunken part has been sealed up and pumped out so it can be used now. Dozens of other ships are attached as well and the form a history of Akorsi ship building, showing the different technologies and styles used over the years. The locals ran around it like there was nothing new but for those who don’t live there it’s a matter of constantly catching your balance.

We met in the galley of a old vessel, a large table in the center. We paid a few coin for the privilege of using the room and they were all smart enough not to ask questions why.

The opening started great. We greeted them all and made what we were offering clear. We’ve got the guns, the Crows have overstayed their welcome, let’s take the Docks and Crows Foot for ourselves [Risky consort. Full success]

And then came the sorrow

After some discussion around the table Arcy finally proposed the official formation of the new Crows Foot. We’d split the Crows turn, the Bloodletters would supply the drugs, and from now on, the Lampblacks, the Grinders, and the Billhooks would pay up to us. This is how it is going to be.

Or is it. [Desperate Group Command. We had 13 dice to roll among all of us and could get better than 3. Arcy filled up her stress and trauma’d out]. Arcy watched, helplessly and Bazso made a swift coup. He agreed the Crows had to go, but surely ad more experienced gang should be running the ward. And in one fell swoop, he took away everything she had for months for. Her hand moved instinctively to her sword but Cyclops stared her down, reminding her of the place we were in.

A glimmer of hope

Though Arcy was out, and Canter didn’t know what to do, Oskarr “The Red Hand” reminded Bazso about the war we fought together, and how after the fight all the Red Sashes territory was gobbled up by the Crows and the Lampblacks, despite the fact that the Bloodletters were the ones in their fighting, not the Crows. That turf they took, it was rightfully ours. [Resolve Resistance]

Bazso’s smile remained but his eyes hardened. If you want that turf, then that’s a discussion we’ll have after the Crows are gone, and it won’t be one we’ll have using words!

Well, it wasn’t the worst outcome for nothing. But a least Oskarr made it clear to everyone at the table that any beef we have with Bazso isn’t about the syndicate, and (hopefully) the Grinders and the Lampblacks will stay out of it.

The taller they are

The score started simply enough. We’ll hire a demolitions expert to plant bombs under the Crows Tower. When it’s time to pay our dues, we’ll walk to the top, carrying a chest, and then when Lyssa opens it up, she’ll fine a note saying that the Crows can fuck right the hell off, and we’ll blow up the tower with everyone inside it.

Of course there was one wrinkle, that we were all inside of it, but that is something for flashbacks and superhuman feats of strength to sort out.

The plan went about as well as expected. Some of the crows noticed something strange was going in, so not all of them were in the tower when it fell, but Lyssa was, and a good number of the others. Twelve stories tall, there is no way someone would survive that explosion, and then if they did, they couldn’t survive the fall.

Except Blades were born to do this sort of thing.

Canter had to stay close to Lyssa, the only way to ensure she didn’t get cold feed. So he was right by her side when the bomb went off!

We flashed back to the plan where Arcy spotted where the building would likely fall and the trajectory to jump onto a shorter building as they went down. She grabbed Canter and with demonic feat of strength, leapt from the falling building, threw a grappling hood to catch hold of a chimney and then swung onto the roof, sliding all the way across it and off the other edge, only holding on by her fingertips with Canter dangling below, both of then nearly dead from the explosion and the crash (Level 4 harm resisted to Level 3 to both)

Oskarr meanwhile, attuned to the ghost field, found the remains of the wall that once connected to the Crows Tower, and with his Ghost Key, stepped into the ghost field. Only the key didn’t quite make it through, and we ended with him staring at his adorable familiar through the ghost field as it sniffed playfully at the key, seeming to ignore his plea for help, just as a ghost kitty would!

More of this turbulence found here…

Bloodletters on Air

What Rocked

Well, we put a permanent hole in the side of Doskvol, that’s not something you see every day!

We also got to see what happens when someone stresses out in a social situation. I don’t think I did a perfect job, but watching Arcy freeze up, out of her element, was  pretty cool.

Stepping through a ghost door into the ghost ruins of Doskvol and getting stuck there? How rad is that.

The fight between Canter, Arcy, and Oskarr after the syndicate meeting was intense. All of us at our wits end. Knowing that even though the plan was terrible, we had to go through with it.

At the end, Canter, limping along to find Lyssa. He had to confirm that she was dead.

Canter’s “you’re not my dad” lines were so good. Part in, part out of character. All Canter!

What could have improved

I really wanted to find a way to trade away these bombs rather than using them. Because the whole “free Skov” play isn’t going to hold up now that we’ve used them in such a public display. Still, how cool is it that we blew up Crows Tower!

I was really torn about what trauma to take for Arcy. Obsessed seemed like a strong choice. She couldn’t get over what happened and would be consumed by becoming more like Bazso. But it wasn’t quite right, she was broken in that moment and lost her edge. Soft was the choice that really made sense but damn was it hard to take. It’s still hard to take. In fact, Arcy doesn’t need to take Obsessed because I did it for her. In the weeks that have followed that game I’ve been thinking about how Arcy could still be a leader of the crew, still command respect, but while having lost her edge. She’s always been the most sentimental of the group, but what now? What if she can’t get her gangs to follower her, what if she can’t pull the trigger? In vigilantes I wrote that Canter killed Arcy. Did I just author my own fate? We’ll have to find out next game I guess.

Actual Play – Young Arcy (4/13/2017)

GM: Stras Acimovic
Players: Karen Twelves, John Harper, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark

We had been dancing around this idea ever since The Last Word did their flashback episode with our truly Canter Haig. What happened to Arcy back on the Nightbreaker. We know about the mutiny, but what about before then. Well, I can tell you this, it wasn’t what I expected.


Stras agreed to run the game for us. GMing in an existing campaign can be tricky, what if you portray something in a way that is different than the original GM does? What if you create a conflict in the setting, chronology, etc? We talked about it in advance and felt pretty confident that any strange horrors Stras thought up would be excellent additions to our lore!

Character creation was a delight. We picked the characters out of Arcy’s past: Young Arcy Keel, Cole Harrington, and Daphnia Dalmore, or Dee. Stras wanted to establish a little more about the characters ahead of time so he had us each write down a few traits for our characters. Here’s what they looked like:

  • Arcy (First Mate 1, Enforcer 2, Laborer 1, Hunter 2)
  • Cole (Sailor 2, Enforcer 1, Hunter 1, Underworld 2)
  • Daphnia (Sailor 2, Backstabbing 1, Noble 1, Leader 2)

Mechanically we handled all rolls as fortune rolls (1-3 = poor result, 4-5 = standard result, possibly with complications, and 6 = great result) and when rolling rolled one die plus any one relevant trait. So when Cole did shady dealings he rolled three dice (one to start plus his Underworld: 2)

I’ve got 99 problems but Leviathans ain’t one of them

We started the session of with quartermaster Harrington getting bad news. We haven’t spotted a Leviathan in a very long time and we’re way below quota (which was knows for a while) and we’re nearly out of potable water. The filter that creates drinkable water (out of void sea) wasn’t working.  Two problems he wasn’t about to be blamed for.

What followed was a few just amazing scenes:

  • Harrington and Daphnia investigating what went wrong with the water filter (where in Harrington found that it had been sabotaged) and Daphnia made friends with some of the engineers by encouraging them to hate Arcy for curtailing their rations).
  • Arcy reported the issues to Strangford (wherein she disappointed him by not intuiting the way to find Leviathans, but we also found out that he was the one who introduced her to Julian and that her maiden name was Arcy Thorn).
  • Cole turned out to have an entire illegal market of rations, drugs, and creature comforts that he operated out of his quartermasters office (and that his log book had nothing to do with ship inventory and everything to do with his own operation.
  • Daphnia turned more and more people against Arcy either because
  • Ship tensions rose as the chief of engineering also tried to cast blame on Harrington and Arcy, to which Arcy quickly escalated to violence.

We’ve spotted one bigger than we ever seen before!

Amid the conniving and politicking and discount giving (Harrington was so good) we could have played for hours just squabbling over ship rations and who’s left taking the blame, but Stras wasn’t going to give us a Leviathan Hunter game without a Leviathan to hunt!

The Starhunter, which was late in reporting in finally showed up and it’s captain was alight with excitement. “That was the biggest one I’ve ever seen!” The conundrum of course being that usually only known leviathans whose method of harvesting blood is well documented and practiced are hunted… but with an opportunity like this, what choice did we have?

Void water boiling, tentacles like massive pillars reaching into the sky, and a single giant baleful red eye stared us as the ship approached. In this moment of crisis we saw the ship come together, Harrington keep his cool and fire a crack shot.

Dee, confronted with a wild tentacle whipping around sent Kolin with a K, and many others into the fray to hold the deck, which they were able to do but at the cost of losing many sailors.

Arcy attempted to pin the tentacle under a giant chain but got knocked overboard and nearly fell into the boiling void see. She plunged her sword into the tentacle as it was rising up and rode it up to the top of the decks roaring at the top of her lungs to call the Hunters. Captain Strangford saw her and directed the ship to gun the engines so the ship righted itself and slammed into the tentacle and then sent in the squad of hunters to start in on it. [Crit!]

Harrington was taking crack shot at the tentacles, to harry rather than to harm, when he heard that there was damage below decks and water was flooding some of the levels. He dropped his rifle and ran full tilt to his quarters where he found there was already a few inches of boiling water on the ground! People were trying to use the pumps but it was coming to too fast (and too hot!). Cole saw that some of his stash was already ruined. He saw the hatch that was flooding the passage with boiling water and started organizing the crew to close it off. “Everyone….you’re all assistant quartermasters. 50% off for the rest of the sail….er, for life, if you get that hatch closed!” [A devils bargain. Oh how that pained him!]

Fleeing into the night

Eventually the damage was too great and captain called for a full retreat. We made it back with the Nightbreaker more or less in tact but the Starhunter was lost. However the haul was amazing. As we sailed the Leviathan opened all it’s eyes at once and we say tortured ghosts trapped in it’s maw, drawing Arcy’s attention where her eyes locked on it for a moment.

Our last moments…

…Harrington in his quarters with all the waterlogged goods marked 90% off, and the badly burned sailor in his bed with a lotus pipe, completely wasted. A new line of customers, all battle scarred and beaten from the fight, and Harrington was wincing at the discounts he had to give them!

…Dee was checking with everyone in the mess to make sure they were all getting their double rations and double grog the captain had offered, but making sure they all knew it came from her.

…Arcy was called back into Strangford’s office. It was a somber mood. We met our quota but many lives were lost. Arcy had the list of all the hunter’s lost. “Good work out there Arcy. Now it’s on you to report to their families and let them know what happened. And it’s on me to do my duties…” and he went back to his books to start sketching the image of the Leviathan into them. The Dream Render. On her way out she stopped and looked up “and Thorn… I’ll be at your wedding.” Though carrying a heavy burden Arcy smiled as she walked out of his office.

Leviathan Hunters on Air

What Rocked

Stras didn’t notice that Dee had “Backstabbing” as one of her traits till a good ways into the game so he assumed a lot of her camaraderie with the crew was genuine.

Stras, more so than I did in the Ironhook game, did a great job of showing the crew’s specific to being on a hunter. There were the deck hands, the engineers, the Hunters themselves, and the officers. It was great seeing these factions at work against each other! Also, much of the crew were criminals who had been mustered into service…i.e. not happy to be on this ship!

John is a fantastic GM but what we don’t see often is that he’s an amazing player. Cole instantly recognized that a) it looks like engineering and the hunters have problems and b) there was no way in hell he was going to allow those problems to be blamed on him or Arcy. It was so good.

Karen played the most devious Dee I could imagine. I mean, of course she’s first name (scratch that, captain) now. She’s back stabbed her way to the top, smiling and making friends the whole time. Masterful. And a bit scary.

This game made me ask so many new questions. Did Strangford every care about Arcy? What changed that? How long had Dee been plotting to take over? If Dee was that ambitious ten years ago, do we have any reason to believe she’s not going to try and screw Arcy over again now? And where is Harrington? We let him slip away…but wow, now I want to find him again. So many threads to follow.

Acry’s ability to survive just about anything was cemented in this game where she went overboard and nearly fell into the boiling void sea but plunged her blade into the Leviathan’s tentacle and steered it back up on deck and into the nets and harpoons of the hunters! If there was any time that night I wanted to roll a crit it was then!

Kolin with a K, the “assistant” quartermaster. The best! Particularly so when Dee shoved some drugs in his system and commanded him to enter the fray.

Cole agonizing over the choice to give people permanent (permanent!) discounts to people to keep the ship from sinking. I loved watching him squirm!

“You dropped this!” Dee’s line to Harrington returning the rifle that he abandoned!

The Leviathan Hunter mini game. Wanna play it!

What could have improved

I wanna play again! Who sabotaged the boat? We’ll never know…

Actual Play – The Train Job (4/10/2017)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark

Recap of Last Session

  • We started the Canter Haig home for deviant shits (our orphanage)
  • We discovered that Flint had (er, had) Spirit Warden garb and was making re
  • We found out two leads about the Grinders (they think our tattoos give incredible powers) and that the Paragon is out of munitions and supplies are being sent in a single shipment)
  • Arcy talked to Elstera Avrathi and ended up backing Linea Ankhayat.
  • The syndicate is a thing. The Billhooks are onboard. The Lampblacks are partners.
  • We took the crew advance: War Dogs.
  • Arcy took the playbook advance: Savage. Canter took the playbook advance: Like Looking into a Mirror.

Planning the Plan

We’re going to win the Grinders over to work for/with us (semantics, yo). How? We talked about this for a while and decided on the obvious choice. Go rob a train, take all the guns and munitions, and then sell them to the Grinders.

From what we knew multiple trains were coming in to Gaddoc Rail where the supplies would all be collected and then taken via a very secure train to the Paragon. So we opted to derail a train (or four) out in the deathlands, take all the munitions, and load them into our boat. Solid assault plan!

What does it take? Deathlands environmental suites, a pump trolley, and terrible Skovlander accents! (But we elected to roll to acquire assets when they were in use rather than up front)

We needed all hands on deck for this job. The Fine Thugs to carry all the goods and fight, and Osksarr’s Weirdos to protect us all from ghosts. Which meant leaving our turf behind…guarded by the Dimmer Sisters, which are our favorite grandmothers.


With a single die we rolled a 5 on our engagement roll and started the train job in a risky situation!

The scene opened in the windswept ashen wasteland outside Doskvol. Crammed on top and hanging off the side of the pump trolley were the Bloodletters… all of them. Black miasma swirled around and wailed horribly as it blew through crevasses.

Dimly ahead of us we saw the oncoming train and the junction where we needed to get them to detour on… and the train was coming fast. By overcharging the electroplasmic engine and gunning it [insert Back to the Future special effects on the tracks], we barely made it to the switching station in time [we flashed back to picking up the pump trolley from our friend Hoxley, a Tier II pump trolley!]. Arcy and a few of the thugs hopped off into the ash, and then as the vibration increased uncontrollably and the pump trolley flew of the rails. [Originally Risky/Limited Finesse, improved to Risky/Standard with Oskarr’s setup action, pushed to Desperate/Great by Canter gunning it. Partial success. He got us there on time…. but that’s when the speed wobbles kicked back up and the trolley flipped and sent everyone on it flying]. Where everyone was going to fly off the trolley and be trashed, Oskarr caught them all in a buffet of air [Tempest! Desperate Attune. Critical Success].

Oskarr’s Tempest was so powerful that it shielded the crew (at least temporarily) from spectral attention [Extra effect from the crit]. Canter thought the smooth fall was him just being awesome, but Cricket… she knew!

The Score

Arcy charged into the switching station just as a rail jack stepped outside to see what was going on. She shot the light out on his headlamp and then shouted out “SWITCH THE TRACKS!” And then she ran through the lightning barrier around the station, let her gear get fried, and kept moving! [Controlled Command. Critical success.] No only did Arcy scare him into switching the tracks, but she also realized that her gear was wrecked by the lightning (air tank destroyed, coat fried, gas mask damaged) and halted her crew before they ran through barrier and destroyed their gear as well!

The tracks switched and the train took it way to fast. The locomotive made the turn but the munitions car tipped and went off the edge, sliding sideways across the ashen surface of the deathlands, safe as houses [Fortune roll for the train yielded a mixed result, but the fortune roll for the safety of the munition care was a critical success!]

After the crash, Canter stalked forward and started shooting anyone he saw that was still standing or moving. Rail Jack. Shot in the face. More Rail Jacks…. chased down and shot in the dark, but pursuing them meant going into the shadowy corners of the deathlands, inside the Rial Jacks element. Canter holstered his rifle, pulled out his pistols and went after them. Cool sniper Canter lasted all of one shot, then mad dog Canter took over [Risky Hunt. Bad outcome]

Inside the switching station Arcy barked an order to the two men who were not occupied changing the tracks offer, who we referred to as “putting on his boot” guy and “telegraph” guy. When the paused “Let my guys into the station!” (which inherently meant lowering the lightning barrier that protected them). The two of the looked at each other skeptically and then Arcy put her sword in “putting on his boots” guy to bring home the message that she only needed one of them alive. “Telegraph” guy hesitated for a moment (he considered sending an emergency SOS signal but thought better of it) [Risky Command. Full success (thanks to Savage).

Oskarr saw that Canter was taking care of the Rail Jacks so he went with the crew to pry open the doors of the munitions car. The car was crashed on its side but the doors were still secured heavily. Oskarr pulled out the electroplasimic blow torch and drills [Thanks Demolition Tools] and started cutting his way in, helped by the crew tearing away at the door with their crowbars. [Controlled Tinker. Limited Effect. Partial Success. Devil’s Bargain to draw more ghostly attention. 1/4. Minor consequence was a second tick on the ghost attention clock 2/4.] The train door held but they were clearly making progress tearing off [1/4 door removed]

Canter, who is Not to Be Trifled With, stalked his prey and shot them all down. His gas mask lit up by muzzle flash. He shot them all down, but the last Rail Jack knocked him down a ravine (before getting shot in the head as Cater slid down the ravine on his back) and canter had to dig is way out. Pissed off as hell! [Risky Skirmish. Great effect (due to NTBTW). Partial Success]. Thankfully he packed climbing gear and so he was able to throw a rope and grappling hook up onto a petrified tree and start climbing out…only doing so badly [Fortune roll to start climbing. Poor outcome.] He floundered during the climb, lost his footing and ended up spinning on the rope, kicking the wall of the ravine and cursing in anger the whole time.

Arcy, in her best Skovlan accent sent one the crew to cut the telegraph lines going north, and then demand that “Telegraph” guy send a message to the south about the Skovlan Independence! There was a chance he’d send a SOS message but Arcy promised he’d live if sent her message exactly as said it! “We, the Skovlan Independence will not rest…” After the message was sent, Arcy suited up in “putting on his boot” guy’s environmental suit.

On top of the train car, Oskarr heard movement of people shifting around inside, preparing for him. He kept hammering away, but got stopped taking his time and hustled to cut the door open, assisted by some of the Fine Thugs sent by Arcy [Assist]. Together the blasted the door open! [Desperate Tinker. Critical Success! Devils’s bargain to increase the ghost attention clock 3/4]

Canter tried again to get out but stumbled and fell back down to the bottom, right next to the Rail Jack who he shot and had slid down the ravine as well. From above he heard whispering voice say “Life” and the spectral operation appeared at the edge of the ravine. “Fucking ghosts now? Fuck this!” He barely clambered out just as it began floating across the empty ravine after him. We flashed back to our gear up scene where Oskarr approached Canter with custom shot that he had inscribed with runes and in the discussion of a proper holder for balls, Canter of course made a “your mom” joke.

“I made, er I mean, I got this from the Deathland Scavengers. It’s got more kick than your normal ammo, and we’ll ” Oskarr liked. Canter took the ammo, started loading it up in his bandoleer,  and then squinted at Oskarr “I recognize that writing, you made this didn’t you?” [Like looking into a Mirror]. There was a moment of tension, Oskarr tried to find another lie but finally said “I wouldn’t leave you out there naked, this is good stuff.” He expected Canter to freak out about his “misuse” of the workshop but instead he was greeted with a giant hug “Fuck yeah, little man!”

Cutting back, Catner drew the special guns we saw in the flashback, kissed each of the guns and left shot fly! It was Canter’s Very Bad, Shitty, No Good Day. “I am not a desert creature!” The electroplasmic ammunition thrashed the ghost and tore parts of it away. It collapsed onto the ground in front of him… and then just as he was ready to move on it flew up again and clawed at him with spectral fingers, but Canter fought it back. [Risky Skirmish. Great Effect. Partial Success. Reduced Effect and Level 2 Harm. The harm resisted]

Seeing the signal flare of Canter’s first shot, Arcy charged out of the switching tower, pulled off the glove she had just put on so she could slice her hand and get her own blood on the blade [Ghost Fighter]. Out here, outside the city, instead of making her blade sparkle, it lit up with blue flame! She cleaved the ghost and it erupted in blue flame, but thankfully here (now leaking) Rail Jack suit protected her! [Risky Skirmish. Great Effect. Partial Success. Ghost explosion for Level 2 Harm. Resisted with Rail Jack Armor]

After their customary banter Arcy and Canter headed to the car while Oskarr sent the Fine Thugs into the car to finish off everyone inside…only it didn’t go so well. The imperial soldiers inside had boxed themselves in with sandbags and were keeping our thugs at bay with long pikes [Cohorts result: Bad Outcome].

Oskark, fulled decked out in the Red Hand attire dropped down and told them in his worst Skovlan accent “Aye lads, you’r all fucked” because moments later Arcy and Canter leapt in and together we tore them apart! [Desperate Skirmish. Group Action. Critical Success. Great effect and them some.] Arcy had a heroic moment of incredible strength and impaled one of them. Canter had all the trouble though, struggling with Canter and the Imperial Guard wresting on the ground till finally Canter got the shot off. We did it so quickly that the crew was able to unload the car just in time. Oskarr gave us the signal, we hid just as the ghosts came, and the carried off the bodies of the fallen and then prepared for the next train!

After we robbed them all, Canter painted “Free Skov!” on the side of the one of the trails we left behind… amid the carnage of all the fallen soldiers…and two station operators with a lightning generator that wouldn’t start back up.

Getting home with the Goods

If we returned to Doksvol under the normal way the train would have signal to the station to let us through and let us all in. But that would mean everyone we knew we were coming. Instead we pulled up slowly (under cover of fog, thanks Tempest) and with a combination of Oskarr’s arcane might, the weirdos supporting him (and stepping up to carry the burden of the power channeled) and a train specifically designed to ground this kind of current! [Desperate attune. Group action. Full success.] Each of the adepts took hold of the train, bowed their heads, whispered a chant, and together wrapped the lighting barrier around train, bright white on the tip because of the incredible heat.

Yes, we charged the lightning barrier with a train full of explosives! And lived!

As the train stopped on the bridge, we unloaded the munitions on to our boat below and then sent the train moving into the station at it slowest speed, so crumpled into the crash guard at the station…not a soul on it!

Blades on Air

What Rocked

I loved how Cricked was just excited when they started getting ghostly attention. She smiled at Oskarr and continued prying at the door!

Canter’s floundering on his way out of the ravine was the comic relief the show needed. Such a bad ass in combat, so out of his element in a gas mask covered in ash floundering on a rope. “I’m out of my fucking idiom!”

Our Skovlan accents. So bad, but so good.

I had so much fun wrestling with the tiny few scraps of Arcy’s morality. There were two loose ends… leave those two Rail Jacks alive to tell the story. Eventually she decided to leave them alive… and then they couldn’t get the lightning barrier to turn back on. Maybe we left them to a fate worse than death. And we now have the setup for the best one shot Blades in the Dark adventure. Two Rail Jacks alone with a broken pump trolley and a downed lightning tower, a day away from the next train!

The personal moments with Canter, both when Arcy helped him out of a ravine and when Oskarr lied to him about the guns.

At the end Canter’s excitement over all the guns an explosives we stole was positively infectious. We all started planning out what we could blow up with them.

What could have improved

Wow, I’m hard pressed to say. This score was beyond awesome. If anything I just wish we had more time to do payoff and then start negotiations with the Grinders and get dead Roric to take back over his gang, and fight off the Irruvians, specifically the Ankhuset to strengthen the Ankhayet family. Oh, so many things to do!

Actual Play – Demon pits, Warships and Spies, oh my! (3/6/2017)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark

Two games less than a month apart? Impossible! But we’ve done it anyway. With a mixture of schedule-fu and a burning desire to play more of this game, we made it happen. Gotta catch up to that Last Word!

We started with a jovial reminder of the Adam/Canter and Sean/Arcy twitter discourse from a few days back. Good times over here.


What we found in the back of the Butcher shop

Coin: 8 (2 of that given to Erin, along with product to get her started)
Rep: 2
Heat: 5
Entanglement: Haunted Butcher shop contaminated by Setarra. Blood barnicles grew over everything. A black cloud of miasma is swirling around the area. Old Cobb the junkman left his cart in front of the shop, and nobody has seen him for a week. Oskarr said he’d take care of it!

A few questions before we started our downtime proper:

  • Who owns Local Graft? The Bluecoats. Damn… well, let’s think about that some and come back it.
  • Who are we going to hit next? The Grinders. Let’s give The Crows no leg to stand on.


Arcy left a note at Keel manor for her husband Julian to meet her at the bridge between Charterhall and Crows Foot.  We weren’t sure where Julian stood with her. Last time he had made it clear that he didn’t want her in his life, but that sex with no other strings attached was still on the table. This time John rolled to determine if he still felt the pull towards Arcy and it turned out, he very much does! [Julian Sexy Time (Fortune Roll): 6]

She took him to her new apartment home on the bridge between Crows Foot and Charterhall [Thanks Lifestyle: 2], showed him the place and offered it up to him as a place they could all move in together [Working on the Long Term Project to win Julian back] and then took him to her bed [Indulge Vice].

Canter decided he needed to start looking the part of a warlord, a man to be feared. Violence fashion forward! He visited a library to look up old Akorosi operas and once he had found the one with the most possible killing visited Revka to ask her to dress him the part. Here eyes widened and she took him to see the costume she had made for an the Evil Count Necromancer in an opera. One Gothic armored arm with a high collar. A giant cape. A hairdo and eye makeup to go along with it as well! [Indulge Vice]

One thing we realized is that Canter believes everything that is good is big and larger than life. Canter sees himself as larger than life, as a character in an opera himself! As such he’s become interested in the grand history of the empire, ala bad asses who have killed other bad asses. In this moment we saw he looks like the bust on a coin.

Oskarr visited a noble house for a seance as Oskarr Scurlock himself. He demure that he had none of the Scurlock legacy but was fascinated by these noble game of passing small tokens around and trying to peer into the ghost field to determine which one belonged to whom. The nobles were disappointing that that he was less grandiose and mysterious than his legendary uncle, but of course he then scared them senseless by channeling spectral energy in front of them! [Indulge Vice].

After that, he went about buying the property that the Billhooks butcher shop used to be on, and began a project with fellow nobles to rebuild on top of it and put an orphange there. Before construction could begin though, he contained Setarra’s miasma so that it wouldn’t seep too much into the building. [Long Term Project. Attune result: Crit. 5/8].

“The Canter Haig home for soon to be wicked badasses?”

“Ummm… we’ll workshop it.”

(Arcy was not in this conversation)

Spin-off game: Arcy, Canter, and Oskarr taking over as headmasters of the orphanage!

During the process Setarra herself arrived in her black scales and shark form. A few bodies were beneath the black water near her. As she rose up she saw Oskarr and awaited his sorcerer’s command. This revelation, that Setarra was not his friend, but his servant, broke young Oskarr’s heart! He didn’t realize that binding her has severed her friendship with him.

Gaining control of Local Graft

What can we trade them for their extortion rackets? A simple question, but one with far reaching implications, as their extortion rackets that act as all of their retirement funds!

To find his way toward leverage over them, Oskcarr started with a meeting with Rolan Wott, the dilettante of crime! Arcy went with him to tell Rolan that the Billhooks “won’t be a problem any more”. Rolan was titillated for a moment until Canter blurted out the blunt out the violence they actually did.

Oskarr tried to just do business with him but he was too enticed by Arcy and Canter’s bravado. Oskarr had to regain his attention but appearing dangerous himself and leeching the heat out of the surroundings as though a ghost has come dear. Once he had the magistrates attention, he asked for a legally binding document that would show that if Oskarr Scurlock died, it was the Irruvian’s fault! Rolan told him this document would be even more effective if it included legal summons to all parties involved, living or dead! [Acquire Asset: Tier 2 Will]

Where is Flint?

“That fucker stole our shit” – Canter’s eventual reason for going along with Oskarr who wanted to hunt him down.

Knowing that our only lead on Flint was Picket, and that if we talked to her she would tell us to get fucked, Oskarr and Canter sent out to hunt her down and find out where she’s meeting, on in this case, leaving dead drops for Flint.

And thus the appearance of Canter’s fine hunting pet! [Like a wizards familiar that suddenly appears when a perception check is needed]. A long eared cat with a hyena-like coat. The cat is of course wearing not one, but two, but three collars!

They followed Picket around as she did the normal pickups for the Lampblacks in Silkshore, all the usual stuff, until they noticed that she made a pattern of passing by a certain house above a store for ladies accountants, and look as though she is expecting something, but nothing is happened.

Canter kicked in the door (kicked it a lot in fact, spraining his ankle), they pilfered through the place and found under the bed and under a false board a spirit warden’s mask and uniform as well as ticket stubs in the bin that indicated Flint had been had been taking rail to Ilysia.

Finding a Carrot

In the meantime Arcy went down to the docks to cavort with sailors and find out what she could about warships. Specifically who captains them and how possible it would be to steal one. All with the intent of giving the Grinders enough rope to hang themselves.

There is only one warship that docks in Doskvol, the Paragon! John read right out of the book, oh boy!

Imperial Military (vi): The armed forces of the Imperium stationed in Doskvol. Garrisons are posted at Gaddoc Rail Station, aboard the naval destroyer Paragon, and at the Lord Governor’s stronghold (about 250 troops in total).

So, about, eh, half that on the Paragon. Canter, from a distance, had fantasies of being Commodore Haig, ready for duty! We all knew it was stationed at Doskvol, and that only the Lord Governor or the Emperor can give him orders. No easy targets there. She asked around, drunk with some sailors, punched some sailors [Devil’s Bargain that the sailors hate us 2/4]. Arcy, spreading some coin around, found two opportunities:

  1. Some sailors are saying that you get special tattoos that make you unkillable. They move on your body and they will close your wounds, make you breathe under water, and could take anything!
  2. The Paragon, after it’s last engagement in Lockport is back in Doskvol without any powder or ammo. They are awaiting a delivery of ammunition. Normally they would send these in small parcels, but because folks are worried that the ship is defenseless, some government official opted to send int all in one go!

Pick all the debris out of my rib cage

Quellyn was sent to the task of taking care of the whiny, bitchy, ungrateful Canter, and after a few days she healed him up completely [Recovery: Crit!]

Reducing Heat

By beating up people that would snitch on us! [Reducing Heat]

Talking to Elstera and Choosing sides

Arcy reached out to Elstera and they agreed to meet at the Kinclaith Dueling Academy (our cover). Arcy stood with Roethe on the balcony, speaking off screen, and waited twenty minutes until she realized that Elstera had disguised herself as a student. She looked much younger, had changed her hair, and otherwise looked like a very different person.

Elstera, in veiled conversation revealed to Arcy that her house (Anixis) wanted to secure control of the Irruvian Leviathan Hunters in one of the two houses that currently divide them (Ankhayat and Ankhuset). Arcy asked which house she favored but Elstera turned the question around and asked Arcy who she would support. The demon blooded cutter aided with Ankhayat. She had little connection with Lenaya, but it was something at least, and she seemed like the kind of person Arcy could side with.

Elstera thought Arcy was foolish to back someone based on personal biases, but was more interested in action than opinion. If Arcy could secure her hold over the fleet, it would serve Elstera’s purposes just the same.

Blades on Air

What Rocked

That demon pit? So terrible and awesome. Oskarr’s solution? Even worse!

Finally, some information on Flint! He’s only been stalking us for 14 sessions!

I had a lot of fun with Arcy’s history. Bringing Julian to her apartment, cavorting with sailors, and talking to Elstera. I’m really interested in following all of these threads!

There are so many open threads and I want to follow all of them! I want to hunt down Flint. I want to consume the Grinders! I want to rob a train. I want to commandeer a warship. I want to start a war between two Iruvian families! So many things to do, so few downtime actions (read: times all four of us can get together) to do them!

There were three  moments when Canter has this epiphany like the world would be his oyster: When being garbed as a necromancer prince, when Oskarr considered naming the orphanage after him, and when he though Arcy might steel a warship for him. So good!

Arcy was so outclassed by Elstera, it was pretty amazing. And my terrible rolls backed it up. She’s really got Arcy by the short hairs with the war looming. Can’t wait to turn that around!

What could have improved

Re-watching the video I see that we probably could get more done in our sessions by sorting out things like payoff, plans for the next score, and other small details in advance. However, none of us have that much time, and there are great moments in some of those discussions that do come out. So, much as I would have loved to get a score in on top of the downtime, this was still really good stuff.

Too bad that Arcy didn’t impress Elstera, but she’s got more chances to do it!

Actual Play – Fish Market Day (2/13/2017)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.8

Talk Shit, Roll Crits was the name of this game. The Bloodletters were back and they came with both all four barrels loaded!

Since we have video and I’m pressed for time, this AP report is mostly a recap of the action.

Rules Updates

We converted to v8 and summarized the rules changes as “Canter floats off on golden cloud” and “If you think about shooting me, you die instantly”. Some pretty cool moves.

In all seriousness, our characters changed a bit and we split up the our gangs (based on having previously spent advances to increase their quality) so we have two gangs: The Fine Thugs and Oskarr’s Weirdos.

Also, we picked our crew’s Hunting Grounds (Sales Territory for Hawkers) as parts of Crows Foot and our favored operation type is (of course): Show of Force! This gave us some advantages as we prepared for the score!

Finishing up from last session (Hour 1)

We had a few downtime actions (and activities) that we didn’t quite fit into last session (or that we forgot to roll) so we put those all in here:

  • Arcy started (and completed) a Long Term Project to start a drug distribution network with the Lampblacks.
  • Arcy intimidated the Irruvian Bluecoat Aya Nahjan to prevent her from going to the Bluecoats with this information since when she went to her people it didn’t work out at all [Reduce Heat, Devils bargain to make an enemy out of Aya]
  • Canter visited Revka, the opera costume designer from imperial city that he brought to Doksvol. At some point when Canter was being dressed he saw a roll of wallpaper and said “that, I want that on me!” [Indulge Vice]
  • We collected one coin from our tattoo parlor [Vice Den]. Next time we’ll have the Lampblacks peddling for us as well!
  • While Arcy and Canter were fronting to the Irruvians, Oskarr slipped Roric’s artifact into the chair backing that he was sitting in. His timing was poor though, and by the time he had a chance to do it, he was alone with an Irruvian who wanted to kill him and a Crow who just didn’t give a shit [Devil’s Bargain: Zamira Ankhayat sensed the presence of the artifact, though she took no action]. Oskarra, standing a top the Crows tower, exposed to the elements, summoned lighting from outside an formed it into a claw that lifted the Irruvian up with and dropped his corpse in front of the Crow that stayed to watch to leave a message. [Warded use to power Tempest].
  • Canter and Lyssa were indisposed when the lightning rocked the building, but Canter assured her that was just how magical he was.
  • Oskarr indulged his vice buy burying himself to study vampirism. Fucking wierdo [Indulge Vice].

Planning our Next Score (Hour 2)

We debated doing a job for Elstera but decided that was too soon. Let’s do some of our own footwork and come to her after we’ve proven ourselves to be people she doesn’t want to go to war with.

So, the next step, always the next step, was identifying our foes and crushing them. And it this case it was the Billhooks! And since we already knew the gang was divided we decided to push on that divide by punishing one side (simply because we thought they were weak) and offering up both leadership of the gang and selling our product to the other.

We reached out to Rolan Wott, our friendly magistrate who is on the take, to get some dirt on Erin or Corran. Rolan (my new 2nd favorite NPC) is a smarmy fellow delighted with his interactions with the underworld. After a game of cat and mouse with Arcy he provided her with with the actual Proxy that Tarvul (Erin’s brother and the crew leader, locked up in Ironhook) had his advocate write up, which legally granted all of his property to his son Coran as well as paid for a legal assassination of Erin! [Acquire Asset, Critical!]

He also told us not only where all the Billhooks territory is but also where Erin’s private home in Silkshore is! [Gather Information, Critical]. Arcy loves this guy!

All this information at our disposal we decided the best way to show Erin that we were dangerous and that we can profit her would be to kill her nephew Coran, wreck the butcher shop, and then make her an offer.

Our engagement roll put us in a controlled position when the action starts!

Fish Market Day: Attack on the Butcher Shop (Hour 3)

As we brought the gondola up to the dock near the butcher shop, Cyclops crouched down to scout the approach but then looked back at us and smiled. He straightened his posture, not concerned about revealing his weapons or armor and told us all “It’s fish market day!”

What we found when we got up top was that there were two giant wagons in front of the shop that gave us all the cover we needed to run the gang right in front of the shop, but still give Canter time to walk in on his own and do what Canter does.

Feathering his collars, Canter walked in “all casual like” and asked Coran (who was working the counter) “What’s good here? You got a good sandwich I can get?” In the back, three of the Billhooks were carrying a giant block of ice into the back with heavy hooks.

Coran jammed the cleaver into the butcher’s block and his hand started to go below the counter “Don’t I? Don’t I know you?”

“You know what? I think I figured it out. I’m going to get the crab cake sandwich… and put some fucking sauce on it” And that’s when Coran pulled out the Blunderbuss but not before lightning fast Canter could whip out his pistols unload on Coran and then leap behind the counter. He executed Coran but was blasted point blank with his Blunderbuss. Canter rolled with it though and took most of the blast off his armor [Desperate Skirmish. Partial Success. Armor and resistance roll dropped it to Level 3 harm to Level 1]

Above, Oskarr stood on the building and barfed up the ectoplasm of a Deathseeker crow that we flashed back to him consuming before the battle and so the bells did not ring!

Below, Arcy and the gang charged into into the building destroying literally everything in their path. Breaking the window frame, trashing the wagons that were making the deliver, and tossing vials of fire oil into the corners of the building. Arcy went in with a sledge hammer, Cyclops with an axe, and together they knocked over the counter with all the eels on it. We trashed the place and the two Billhooks who were in the front! The giant block of ice got water underneath it and began to slide to the back [Controlled Wreck. Critical!]

From the back a Billhook came charging out to gut Canter like a fish and nearly did, if not for Canter putting his final two shots in his chest [Desperate Skirmish. Devil’s Bargain to have all his other guns wet and unusable after this shot. Partial Success] and Arcy spinning him around so she took the hook to her ribs instead [Protect action. Prowess to resist down to 2-Harm. Armor to reduce to 1-Harm. Battleborn to reduce to 0-Harm].

In the melee, Oskarr walked up to the dead Coran and looking right at Canter as he was fighting and wrenched Coran’s soul out of his body. Canter berated him for not helping in the fight at all, and then saw the deformed soul get pulled into the jar! [Desperate Attune. Full success!] “Easy to do now that I killed him already!”

Service to Setarra (Hour 4)

In our final hour (and change) we finished off the Billhooks, but not as you imagine we might. Arcy felt the surge of Setarra’s power running through her and decided this was the time to let it in. The fight was in a butcher shop with hooks hanging from the ceiling and drains in the floor that funneled down to the canals below.

Rather than just decimate them, the Bloodletters stopped, dropped their weapons, took off their armor and changed at these armed Billhooks, taking pistol fire and batting away blades. As we got our hands on the terrified gang, we hoisted them up onto the hanging hooks and bled them for Setarra. [Desperate Skirmish. Critical! Devil’s Bargain to take the 4th tick on “Corrupted by Demon Blood”]

Quote: “You’re going to be able to defeat them and then do what you do unto them.”

You should watch this scene. It’s pretty awesome.

Bringing Erin into the Syndicate

The next day Arcy, Canter, Oksarr, and Cyclops all had a meeting with Erin, where we discussed her possible futures, and the one she wanted was the one where she paid up to us (instead of the Crows), peddled our product, and took over her gang. It’s also the one where we held onto the papers that said everything went to her dead nephew and that sent an assassin after her. [Controlled Command. Full Success. Devil’s Bargain that she’d have a seat at the table!]

“Here’s to a bright future then. We have a bit of a tradition here with the Hooks”.  We drank her whiskey, ate the rare meat she offered, ripping it apart with our hands. Canter enjoyed the meat and drink but then said “You know, we’ve got a tradition too!” And next thing we knew we were all showing her our tattoos (we had a flashback to Arcy getting a Leviathan Tatoo on her shoulder from Tris on the docks), and then Oskarr pulled out his own tattoo kit and attuned to the blood to color and image of a Billhook going through a Skull.

Just as he attuned to splay the ink over her skin the lights crackled and as the color surged onto her flesh, Arcy’s eyes flashed a shimmering black just for a moment.

What Rocked

It was so good to play again with these peeps. I loved it. And the final version is great. Yes to Warded + Tempest! Yes to Not to Be Trifled With!

Our strategy actually made sense. We found a way to put pressure on a gang that they could either work with us and profit or be decimated. I loved that we had something to back our threats up with besides just more violence.

Rolan Wott. I love this criminal dilettante so much!

I’ve been wondering for a long time what happens to Arcy when she finally takes that last tick on her clock. I guess I’m still wondering what will happen but I’m glad I finally did it. Drive your characters like they are stolen cars! Arcy isn’t the “good” character or the protector but hopefully I can keep her has someone that can be empathized with. Excited to see.

Fucking burying himself alive for two days. Lightning claws. Eating Deathseeker Crows whole.  Oskarr is great!

I think this was the first time all three of them really agreed on a plan that wasn’t just murder everyone. Give them an offer and make it a good one!

Excited to see what happens with the Irruvians and Elstera.

Great getting Marlane in the scene (may be the last time) but I still want to do more with her and see where she and Arcy stand.

Canter’s nonchalant walk into the butcher shop and order a sandwich. That was picture perfect!

So many crits. Our digital dice were on fire!

This quote I saw on G+ from Benjamin herder that I just loved.  “Yup. Redeemable. That’s a word I’d use for Arcy #tentacles”

Coolest part of all which wasn’t even really “in game” was when John asked us what our symbol (the Blood Letter) means. It’s in Hadrathi and colloquially means “unstoppable” but literally means “The Eternal Flame”. Cue Bangles music and awesome Irruvian crossovers here!

What could have been improved

I think the crew advance reward (1 coin +2/tier) may actually be too fast of advancement (Arcy just hit two lifestyle). This is some 11th hour crap for me to pull and I’m not sure if it will have any effect on the outcome, but I do feel a bit like we’ve got money coming out of our armpits right now. And we still have to do payoff! I wonder what the Billhooks were protecting in that back room!

Watching the videos I’m a spotlight hog. I talk too much. I’m going to refocus my energy on listening to others and fueling my fellow players either through out of character support or in character interaction with them.

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.


Actual Play – Keel’s Reckoning (10/24/2016)

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

Three months later, the Bloodletter return!

After some serious schedule-fu, Stras finishing Scum & Villainy, John Starting Rollplay: Blades, announcing that Evil Hat will be publishing Blades in the Dark, and Big Bad Con going off, we finally found a time we could all make. Or at least most of us could make.

10 Minute Recap

The start of our game (first ten minutes) Stras and I had a delightful time recounting all the Grinder-fighting, junkie interrogating, Eel-breaking, traitor-finding action we had last session. It was hoot!

Lightning Rounds of Oskarr Downtime

Oskarr, burnt out from our last encounter and near run-ins with the Spirit Wardens, went to an underground spectral haunt. A place where folks played around with separating the soul from the body temporarily, you know, for fun. He took Nyryx with him as a date, and we saw images of his soul, partially detached coming through his spirit mask. In the background a heavy bass and fog horn added a Doskvol dub-step (ghost-step?) that permeated through the den of strange. [Indulging Vice]

Back in Scurlock Manor, Oskarr was refilling the faded demon ink in his tattos. Because of it’s electroplasmic base, he was able drop the ink into his skin and then attune to move it across his skin! And we got another shot of the hand print left by She Who Slays In Darkness, which he had now drawn wards around to prevent it from affecting his body further [Indulging Vice, again]

On the streets, Oskarr deposited little spirit sensors across the town, looking for signs of the ritual that was blocking him from accessing Setarra. He also was crafting a Spirit Warden mask, as part of his grand plan to defame them! His attuning paid off. He sensed nothing in the ambient ghost field, but when he let his eyes roll back and opened his mind to primordial powers sensed that someone was using ancient magics, those from before the cataclysm perhaps or that of a forgotten god, to block her access and the access from all demons, into the city. [Long Term Project, Completed].

“I mean… everybody puts faces on wooden dummies and makes masks out of them” Oskarr, on being unstable.

The wards were anchored at three points in the city, and Oskarr, rather than try to tear them down, sought to find weaknesses in the ward so that he could bring Setarra through it, but leaving the wards in place [Future long term projects: 3 clocks, six ticks each. Plenty to work on…]. To get a hand with this Oskarr spent some time with the Dimmer Sisters to ask them for assistance with this project [Acquire Asset? We didn’t roll for it but perhaps their quality is based on their Tier instead]

“I feel alone, I don’t even have my demon to talk to” – Oskarr, on why he’s reaching out to for help.

Arcy taking her time, and the money, all the money

The scene cut away from Oskarr in his room to another room in Scurlock Manor, where the silhouette of Arcy straddling Cyclops could be seen through the thin canopy. Around the bed was scattered the articles of clothing including Arcy’s coat and trousers and the cufflinks, pressed shirt, collared jacket, and other articles from fine outfit she had bought and presented to Cyclops.

Though the sex itself was passionate, afterward Arcy turned to business and became cold, perhaps purposely allowing Cyclops to believe that could get the old Arcy back if he did just want she wanted. And what she wanted was for him to use his connections as a sailor to get onboard the Nightbreaker as part of the crew and get her access to Strangford. He could be hired on to do repairs while the Nightbreaker was in port, and Arcy knew that Strangford spent his evenings in his private salon. Though quite possibly a death sentence, Cyclops agreed [Long term project add Cyclops as a contact, Completed. Indulging Vice. Acquire Asset: Access to Captain Strangford (Exceptional). Devils Bargain: Cyclops knows Arcy’s real identity]

Later, with her friend Mercy, a cold killer, Arcy rounded up Orlan, a ghost contract lawyer, who despite being pulled out of his element, agreed to come along on the score to draft a contract on the fly, because the filthy lucre sent his way [Acquire Asset: Ghost Contract (Exceptional)].

During all of Arcy doing all these negotiations, we also saw Arcy talking to the citizens of Crow’s Foot and the Docks who have been affected by the Electroplasmic Gates that had been erected, and her taking advantage of property values going down [Illustrating the “A little something on the side”]


Offscreen we met Orlan, the whisper lawyer with delicate Severosi features. We saw a brief scene of Mercy propositioning them and the first refusal that they could never do this, then of Mercy showing them the coin offered, and them putting up their hair, donning a coat, and drawing a pistol from a drawer, then placing it on their person…

Lets have a chat

After our break we reconvened at Scurlock Manor, where Arcy pitched the score to Oskarr. As he came out of his bedroom early in the morning (or perhaps very late in the night) Oskarr found Arcy geared up and she told him she had a job ready to go.

“We talked about this before. We need source for oil and I got us a connection. Ready?”

“Right now you might not get toasted by a man who has bound his soul to a demon of lightning and fire…”

And thus a terrible argument broke out and Oskarr made it VERY clear that he hated this plan, but realized that because of the Spirit Gates blocking the demons access, if there was ever a time this possibly could work… it was now.

“Arcy, you are a salamander. You cannot just let a good thing be a good thing. You fucked up your ship. You fucked up your marriage. You fucked up your relationships. And you’re about to fuck up this gang.”

And after much more deliberation…

“I hate this plan Arcy.”

“Yep… you ready?”

“Let me go get my gun.”

The Score

A small barge puttered it way out to the Nightbreaker. Though the night sky was pitch black there were many lights from the docks and the ship itself to illuminate the terrible rents in the steel that were being repaired, huge pock marks that each each with a glyph in the center, and generally the signs of fighting a terrible beast at sea.

As we passed through the docks we could here the rumbling roil of the lightning gates burning away in the night and the protests of a citizen being accosted and inspected by the Spirit Wardens.

Just as the clock struck 7 PM, when Arcy knew that Strangford called his men to shut off the loud machines they used for repairs, the cut the engine to their own barge and coasted the rest of the way to the ship. In the dark she groped, held her breath for a moment, and then exhaled with relief when her fingers curled around the edges of the rope ladder Bricks had dropped down from above.

[This was the point where we rolled engagement. We had a really good setup up (5D6 to start) but Strangord’s resources so far outstripped our own (two tiers) that the changes of something going wrong or someone noticing here high (dropped to 3d6 for our tier difference). Result: 5 – Mixed outcome]

As we climbed the rope ladder making our way up to the lower decks a the head and shoulders of  sailor popped out the a port window with a rope around it’s neck. Booker, a crew mate on the Nightbreaker was wrestling with Bricks who was trying to choke him out before he could call out an alarm. It looked like he was going to throw her off him, and Arcy lunged up the rope, practically throwing herself up it so that she could catch Booker before the free himself of the rope and then smashed his head against the hull. [Resisting with Prowess, followed by Skirmish]

Quickly we entered and narrowly stopped Bricks form enacting her savage nature and killing Booker.

Captain Strangford’s End

Inside the steam room we saw the innards of the Nightbreaker and the posh amenities it provided. Down the hall we could hear a phonograph playing softly in a room down the hall.

We crept silent down the hall, through the portal into Strangford’s chambers and found him enjoying his bath. In the chamber was a table that had a skylight above it and with chains hanging down…an alter to his brilliant demon.

Sword drawn, Arcy pulled back the curtain of his claw-footed tub. As the steam wafted out and eventually cleared, Stranford saw Arcy holding a blade pointed at him. Stranford was nonplussed, he snatched his cane up and drew his sword from it! To his side there was the click of Oskarr’s pistol as he placed it against his head. Despite this he was still unphased.

[Strangford’s full name: Corlas Evanston Strangford III]

Arcy pressed her blade against his “Corlas, I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

“Who are you again? You look familiar. One of my servants maybe?”

“You won’t goad me” and Arcy slid her blade slightly down the edge of his.

And from there, a discussion was about to start, when Strangford lunged out to grab Oskarr’s pistol. Oksrarr tried to empty his brain pan with his pistol but the captain grabbed hold of it and they began wrestling for control of the gun. Her sword turned away, Arcy punched Stranford with the basket hilt of the blade and broke the bone, snapping it terribly, and dropping him back into the bath and pinning him for a moment underwater.

In the moment that Strangford was struggling with her Arcy turned to Oskarr and pleaded with him to back her. Oskarr however just wanted her to end him, and move on!

The water began to bubble and the surface of the water became spikey and huge electrical discharge coursed out of the tub and threatened to electrocute all of us, but Oscar lunged his metal claw hand forward, and pulled the lightning into his arm, and then channeled it into a vial of leviathan blood, turning it into electroplasm. As it coursed through it and threatened to electrocute him and spark away Osckarr gripped it with this will an channeled it back [Resistance to the first effect, Desperate Action to bottle the lightning, two consequences, both resisted as well].

Arcy lunged into the bath and wrenched Stranford out of the water by his throat, pinned him to the wall, and told him that he had one chance left. He could surrender to them now, or she would reveal his bond to the demon to everyone and destroy him. Behind her, Mercy had brought Orlan into the room, ready to make the contract. Arcy leaned in to whisper the demons name, but when she heard Oskarr cock his pistol once more, she relented [Oskarr resisted her taking that devil’s bargain]. Arcy continued only saying “He cannot help you.” From there things went badly [Arcy rolled a 1-3 on the Risky Move]

Strangford saw Orlan behind Arcy and watched as he prepared the ghost contract. Too proud to call for help, unable to fight back, Strangford instead shut her down. He looked Arcy in the eyes and said “You still don’t understand, do you Arcy? You’ll never be one of us. We’re just better than you. It doesn’t matter what you do.”

Arcy could not stand for this. She had no more words for him. She twisted his neck and continued twisting. He looked at her with confidence that she could never go through with it… right up until the last moment when the he was finally wrenched apart. Slowly, filled with horrible noises, and flailing, Arcy kept on until she broke his neck. Tears in her eyes, Arcy turn to Oskarr. It was done.

Orlan rolled up his scroll and put his quill away. Mercy, prepared to pack up as well. It was deathly silent, except the low thrum of the bell tolling in the distance.

Score, Part 2

Not willing to just leave, Arcy told Oskarr, lets loot this place and carry off all we can! And even as that process began, the wheels in her head kept spinning. We lost one opportunity, but three more presented themselves. The bell was wrung… the crow was flying…the timer was on, and they jumped into action.

Arcy cleared Strangford’s table – which revealed an ancient, pre-cataclysm map that had ancient landmarks that we had never heard of along with trips that we had taken with ancient routes – and presented three plans to Oskarr.

  1. Break into the Captains Safe and take it all.
  2. Call the First Mate up to the Captain’s chamber and strike a deal with them.
  3. Find the Heart of the Nightbreaker and… and… we’re not sure what.

Cracking the Safe

Oskarr, needed the code to Strangford’s safe, called forth his spirit out of the body. With no time to separate naturally, it had to be forcefully wrenched out causing the body to pitch up from the center and tasking Oskarr with wrenching the vaporous ghost up and into his spirit jar. [Desperate Attune!]

Bricks at his side ready to carry off goods, Oksarr commanded the ghost in the bottle, who of course resisted with all his might. Behind him skylight flew open, lightning flashed in the distance, and the chains above Stranford’s alter rattled. The demon objected but with the ward in place he could do nothing to stop Oksarr! [Controlled Attune, which became Risky after a failed roll].

“I am the last scion of house Scurlock… you will give me what a want!” – Oskarr, battling wills with Scurlock.

“Tantrum in a Bottle” – John, but also our next album name.

Safe opened and and thumbs up! Deeds and paperwork and strong boxes full of coin. Jewelry and so much else.

Unexpected Promotions

“Arcy, get us the first mate here before they get tangled up with the Sprit Wardens!”

We flashed back to that night, as Arcy and the few that stood with her were forced off the edge of the boat by the captain and his loyal crew. As she fell, a woman stepped up beside the captain to take her place! Daphnia Dalmore, a who goes by D, wore glasses and concealed her gender, carried a harpoon and stood by Strangford. That was then…

In Arcy’s best Strangford voice she called into the ship’s tubes she called “First Mate Dalmore to the Captains quarters immediately”. There was a muffled response, which Arcy took as a confirmation.

When she arrived Strangford’s body was broke and it the tub, but we had the decency to close the curtain. She was not phased [John also rolled a 6 for her steel] and simply greeted her “Arcy Keel” as though she was expecting her.

“Daphnia Dalmore, you’re wearing my uniform.” And when the first mate was momentarily disarmed by the threat she continued “But I can offer you one better. How does Captain Dalmore sound to you?” She took in the scene, saw the water on the floor, the papers pushed aside, Strangford nowhere to be seen.

Arcy told her a story about how Booker was trying to steal from the captain when he got caught and the fought. Booker killed the captain and would have made it away if not for Dalmore. She arrived just in time to stop Booker after he dropped the look to his crew below. She caught his neck with a rope an the last minute an killed him, avenging her captain.

Arcy took the captain’s pins and stepping very close to D, pinned them on her collar. D in turn put her pistol under Arcy’s chin. As Dalmore cocked the gun, Arcy snapped the backing onto the pins. Pins which glowed with electroplamic fire.

Arcy turned to the table and the chains, all the evidence of Strangford’s sorcery and told offered up this solution to Dalmore “We can keep this all contained. Do you really want everyone to find out about this? Do you really want everyone to know?” [Desperate Command, Great effect, Success!]

Flashback to Oskar preparing his ritual to stop the bell from tolling because he knew someone was going to die on this mission [Flashback to spend a rep as a downtime action], Daphine kills Booker and Oksarr fell forward, crawled on the ground and the he vomited forth ecotplasmic crows that expired instead of bell tolling. D was horrifed in terror at the action “Arcy Keel, I swear to you if you ever return here, I’ll have your head.”

Arcy summoned Orland and said “It’s okay, you’ll be doing a delivering to me.”

Dalmore started blabbering terms of the contract that Arcy would never see her, never say her name, never speak of this again, never, never, never, but the final contract was that:

  • Dalmore would deliver from the captain’s supply of Leviathan Blood to the Bloodletters every month [A Tier 3 cut’s worth]
  • Arcy would never have contact with Dalmore again.
  • An implied (but not written) agreement that we would talk about this to anyone.

The Heart of the Leviathan

Though they had some aspirations of destroying the heart, Arcy and Oskarr also realized that if they did that, they may very well be destroying ship. Instead they decided to learn what the could of the heart while they were there, with perhaps a way to find it’s weakness or a way to ward ourselves against it.

Cut the Arcy leading Oskarr into the bilge where they found the ship got older an older, as thought at one point it was made of wood and rather than remake the ship completely, the just built around the old hull. The bilge was filled with mire and stick up to our knees and more and more of the ship seemed in disrepair and showing its age. Thick smoke filled the air and rickety old door banging on it’s hinges led to small room filled with a throbbing power of light. The power emanating from the room reminded us of Setarra, though different in every way. We were overcome with a sense of vertigo but pressed on into the room, to study the heart. [Desperate Study]

This was a thing that did not want to be known. It was not for us. It would defend itself against us… but we proceed and opened our minds to this to ask “what could give me power over this?”

We, already tied to Setarra could not proceed. But someone else, untainted, could be bound or sacrificed to this demon, and then we could draw it out. But what happened right now was that the bilge began to fill up with refuse and began to swallow us in mire…and the ship unmoored itself and started to go to sea. [Missed opportunity and serious consequence].

As they fled Oskarr stopped for a moment, opened his red leviathan eye (and the third eye of his familiar) and commanded the ship to stop.. and it stopped! [Crit on resistance]

Leaving the Nightbreaker behind

As they sailed away on their small gondola with Arcy at the prow, we had a momentary flashback to her at the prow of the Nightbreaker in the same pose.

Blades on Air

What Rocked

Holy shit that was an amazing game. So many highlights:

  • Bringing Cyclops into the crew. Drawing him close, and then shutting him down.
  • Arcy being pushed to the edge and finally killing Strangford.
  • Oskarr putting a gun to Strangford’s head.
  • Oksarr putting a gun to Arcy’s head.
  • Daphnia Dalmore putting a gunt to Arcy’s head.
  • Oskarr’s underground club scene of soul separation.
  • The argument between Oskarr and Arcy about what to do. “I hate this plan Arcy.”  “Yep… you ready?”
  • The symmetry of opening the game with Cyclops becoming a true member of the Bloodletters and closing with Arcy becoming a true member herself.
  • Emptying the coffers to make this deal go down.
  • The scene of Orlan being hired.
  • The whole thing nearly falling apart… and then all coming back together.
  • Oskarr’s will dominating Strangford and Tyraxxus at every turn!

Just, yes. So much yes.

What could have improved

Is it time for the next game already?

Actual Play – Ending the Eels…again! (7/20/2016)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6

Times they are a changing

Time having passed after the fall of the Red Sashes, now we’re catching up with the changes in season two. (Specifically we’re stepping away from the moment to moment action and jumping forward to a new situation).

  1. The Red Sashes Dueling school had been remodeled by Roethe Kinclaith away from the old reds into the white, grey, and silver of the Kinclaith family. Some very tasteful pale white lights have been installed in place of the old open flames. We see Roethe training a student and giving him a cut across the cheek so he’ll remember not to make that mistake again.
  2. The pool behind the dojo has been remodeled in the Scurlock family decor, but its completely dry.
  3. Following the pipeworks and coming back up into the tattoo parlor we see that the pool there is also dry. Old, empty casks of oil are discarded against the wall.
  4. Above, a patron is getting a tattoo with standard (non-leviathan blood) tattoo.
  5. Our territory spans along the west edge of the Crows Food and the east side of the Docks.
  6. Street life has changed. Drug use is more active and sales are more prevalent.
  7. Small lightning barrier checkpoints have been erected by the Spirit Wardens to cordon off parts of the city. The Spirit Wardens have a badge in the river with one of their rookeries on top of it. A spider shaped hull clanks beside the barriers. Spirit Wardens watch the neighborhood but are turning a blind eye to the drug trade.
  8. Electric street lights reveal people taking a new drug called Spark, which causes blue electrical discharge when consumed. Using it is disruptive to the ghost field, annoying whispers in all directions.
  9. Two new games are operating here. The Grinders (factory workers from Skovlan) who once worked in Lockport. Rumor has it that they are seditionists but here and now they are peddling spark. On the Crows Foot side are the Billhooks, an extremely violent gang that works out of a butcher shop. They have allied with the Crows (Lyssa’s gang) and together they snatched up a lot of the Red Sashes turf.
  10. Harrington didn’t come back with the Nightbreaker. We’re out of Leviathan blood. We’ve got no action and that is driving traffic to our competitors.
  11. Oskarr has attempted to summon Setarra and it did not work. His link to her has been blocked, at least in all the places he’s tried to contact her.
  12. Side note: Linea is at sea on a hunt. Canter has been practicing love poetry.

Grinders outside our door

Cyclops has a grinder in our basement at knife point. Outside a group of Grinders and Bloodletters are standing off against each other, shouting threats back and forth. Two Bluecoats are watching idly to see where all this goes.

Derit, one of the Grinders that the others followed, was sizing up our forces and then noticed Canter as he entered the shop. Inside we discussed the plan.

“Quellen tells us we’re out of blood. No blood. No product. No product, no corners.”

“What’s going on Arcy?”

“We have two problems. We’re missing both our supply and our supplier.”

From there we’ve discussed what action to take next. Find out where our leak is, or get more supply? Arcy pushed hard for getting a direct supply from Strathmill but once Osckarr mentioned we might have a problem in our own organization, Canter obsessed over who might be leaking it. Our eyes turned on Cyclops because he was acting suspicious. Arcy turned on him but quickly realized that he felt responsible for losing the goods, but wasn’t involved.

Oskcarr attuned to the ghost field to see if the leviathan blood left behind a supernatural trail to where it went. Doing so, however, was harder than usual. There was powerful interference coming from the lightning towers and many eyes watching the area. He opened his mind just the same, but was caught by the Spirit Wardens…

Meanwhile, a scuffle outside breaks out and Canter sent Cyclops (a very annoyed Cyclops) to go put a wrap on it. Cyclops just laid into Derit.

In the ghost field, Osckar saw Silver (remember Silver, we thought she was trapped in a spirit bottle!?!?) leading a group of thieves into the tattoo parlor where they picked lock, snuck down, and drained our leviathan blood into the canals below. He felt the barometric pressure intensify but before they could find him, sent his familiar (yay, Oskarr’s familiar is alive) off to misdirect them.

The Eels have our product. They are probably working with someone else.

Discussion continued about whether we should go after the Eels or resupply. “This isn’t a problem we solve with gold, this is a problem we solve with steel.” And a bullet went through our window!

Outside Bluecoats Finn and Vey were arriving and everyone was beginning to draw their blades. An arrest was going to be made, someone was getting locked up. Handy that we had a Grinder at knife point downstairs to hand over! Arcy hauled him out and handed him over “This man’s been trespassing.”

Asserting our dominance

As the tension was difusing and people were putting weapons away, Canter walked over to Derit, very slowly, and intentionally crunching the broken glass beneath his feet, and told him “you owe me one window.” And then it the tension rocketed right back up again!

Arcy, who was about to hand over the Grinder pulled him back, by the neck, and wasn’t going to let him go until we saw what happened between Catner and Derit.

Derit first thought Canter was just another punk and then realized he was serous, and all of our reputation of brutal killers hit him full in the face.

Finn tiredly turns away with the the Grinder but Vey was watching us closely. She was not going to forget this! [Devil’s Bargain]

Finding the Eels

We started asking around about our product to see if any of our regulars had found it elsewhere, and word started spreading that we’re out of product [Devil’s Bargain, Starting a clock: Lose your customer base 1/4].

Information arrives, by way of our gang (since all of us rolled so terribly), who rounded up some of our usuals, one of which had gotten a fix in a house in the southern part of Crows Foot, near the Dimmer Sisters. They were doing some kind of experimentation…testing something out and giving it out to these few “lucky” ones.

In an odd moment…Oskarr asked Canter for a gun…who really didn’t feel comfortable putting one in his hand.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this scared of a gun in my life.” – Canter Haig, regarding Arcy giving Oskarr her pistol

The buildings are tall, four or five stories, many of which look abandoned even though they are in use. We know there is underground and above ground canal access.

“I, Arcy, are asking you [Okscarr] if you want to do ghost things and you’re, saying no? No?” – Arcy Keel, planning the raid with Osckarr

The plan: Leave our strike force in the Dimmer Sister’s home while we infiltrate the Eels via the underground canals.

Our take on the dimmer sisters: Nobody knows how many there are, they never leave their home, they hold seances and aren’t “bad” people, but nobody messes with them. They greeted us warmly at the dock but wouldn’t stand for our gang tromping any mud into the house.


We rolled a mixed outcome…and John, using one of his bad ass GM moves, used that as an opportunity to reveal something that he had in mind. What the Eels had up there sleeve. Really, this is best viewed in action. Check out Part 2, at 29:49.

It’s tougher than it seems – John knows something that the Eels are doing… and now we find out. They’ve got a secret…

But first, our load out. Arcy has stitched metal plates into her heavy coat. Cyclops has a unity war helmet, Osckarr has his hand made lightning hook! [Heavy load]

We arrive with a bang, kick the door open and enter a large basement that used to be filled with casks but now had been cleared out and in it’s place there were low bunk beds. Laying flat in them, in tight fitting Eeel uniforms were a dozen hollows. Soulless creatures, their skin tight against the bone!

Arcy, sent the crew to fight cautiously, surround the Hollows, boxing them in so Canter had a clear shot to light them up with electroplasmic ammunition! [Setup action to grant potency, and to move quickly up the stairs].

Canter, ready for action shed his subterfuge coat to reveal his battle coat beneath it, covered in pistols with quick releases! He leapt up on a palette to mow through all of the hollows beneath him. Or that was the intention [Desperate roll, result is a 3]. He shot into the crowd, but once the first one was hit by electroplasm, they all swarmed him and it looked to be a massacre [Level 4, Fatal Harm], but our scoundrels are a plucky lot! Oskcarr commanded them to hold [Protecting a teammate], Canter dodged and twisted, firing a shot through them [Resisting], and taking one on his armored plate [Armor]. He popped up through the mess, breathing in a huge gust of air!

Storming the Eel’s Lair

Charging up the stairs before they could react, Cyclops, Arcy, and the rest of their small crew surprised the Eels who were working away at some kind of distillery!

Since we had the element of surprise, Arcy sent her guys to capture, rather the murder all of these Eels, knowing that any who made it onto the street would be gunned down by the crew that were waiting in the Dimmer Sister’s house across the street. And the first one they captured, one that Cyclops was tussling with, was dressed like a Lampblack!

Scrapping top and bottom

Canter, blasting away at the Hollows kept them busy [Desperate action, limited effect], bought Oskcarr time [Setup action] to weave a threaded needle around all of them, then plunge the needle into his own thumb and command them to “sleep!” [Desperate action using the Compel them all to sleep, Devils bargain (for great effect) that the person animating them senses this disruption]. As he closed the thread tighter and tighter around them, one of the hollows reached out in his death throws to choke Oskcarr out! He pulled out the pistol and blasted it’s hand off, then rubbed the mystically enchanted armor around his throat [Negating 3 harm with resistance and both ticks off heavy armor].

Above, Arcy and crew chased down the Eels [Desperate action because this is their strong suit, but great effect due to our numbers]. We pinned then down, caught them all except the final one who made to the top of the roof and when Arcy caught him, tumbled and rolled both of them off the fifth story roof! Though they fell five stories, they did it level by level (lots of oof sound effects!). [Level 3 Harm resisted with armor, resistance, and battleborn]. At the bottom our crew put a blade to his throat and then watched as Arcy stood, unphased by a five story fall.


Oskarr found the distillery and first thought they may be alchemical geniuses realized that they had no fucking idea what they were doing. With the Blue Coats coming soon we scrambled to recover our product and clean up this mess as much as we could!

Arcy had the gang round up the bodies and started dragging them all in the house to make it look like an internal conflict!

Osckarr used Tempest to cool the cooked batch of leviathan blood so we could transport it quickly.

As the wind starts picking up Canter said “No, use your words Oskarr” as the Tempest began.

The lights in the room grew brighter and Oskarr’s shadow tilted in the wrong direction and a small cat crept out from behind it. Oscar’s mask, which has always had a closed eye, opens revealing a cat eye, and the cat’s third eye opens and reveals itself it be a human eye. [Oskarr sent one stress to himself and one to the familiar]. And the temperature drooped!

“Hey a kitty!” Canter, before he sees the third eye “Oh, it’s the wierd kind of Kitty. Fine! I’ll be outside with the normal people.” – Canter as he meet’s Oskarr’s familiar.

Canter, outside found the Lampblack with two of his fingers missing, sitting on the curb. “Oh fuck this”…and he almost blew him away right there, if not for Arcy reminding him that we’ll get no information out of him dead. “You and me, motherfucker, you and me!” Canter eyed him and backed away slowly.

He then went to shoo away any citizens that walked by and were lingering.

“My word” – John, as Duskwall citizens offended by the sight of blood and Canter’s aggression.

Arcy got the guys inside the house just in time for the Bluecoat’s truncheon rapping on the door. It was a polite rap on the door saying “I know you’re in there, open up so things don’t have to get ugly.”

Covering up one mess…and revealing another one

Canter went outside to greet the Bluecoat… intending to diffuse the situation. But ended up flirting with the officer… trying to impress her, then trying to get a date with her (She was Irruvian and reminded him of Linnea), and then revealed that yes, the Red Sashes ran into the Bloodletters, and now there Red Sashes no more!

“What seems to be the problem here?” – The Bluecoat ritual phrase.

She recognized Canter by all the collars on his coat…which he assumed means she’s heard that he is an excellent lover and amazing person.

“I wouldn’t want you to put me in your log either, but maybe you have some other place you could put me where I could cause trouble.” – Canter, when trying to bribe/seduce an Irruvian Bluecoat.

She rebuffed him however, because he was already connected with Linnea…and that’s when it went back to being a cop and criminal, but she wanted a favor. A little information. Anything we might know about the Red Sashes, to help her out. Unable to resist bragging.

“You know now that I think about it. I do remember hearing something about them. They got in the way of the Bloodletters. Sorry, look at the time, I’ve gotta go.” – Canter going from full on flirt, to full on psychopath.

Bloodletters Represent at Go Play Northwest

2016-07-09 17.20.07

Blades on Air


Coin: 2 (taking our blood back and taking the loose items from the Eels)
Rep: 3 (1 for this job against the Eels, 2 for confessing to the Red Sashes elimination)
Heat: 2 (From the Devil’s Bargain)
Entanglements: Reprisals (fun for next time)

What rocked

Establishing the their are lightning fields that people can be pushed through and their bodies protected but any spirits attached will be ripped away. The process isn’t safe and sometime fried chicken comes out the other side.

The reveal of Oskarr’s familiar. They are unnerving, like ghost, with their presence. A cute kitty…with a third human eye. A part of Oskarr’s humanity…that is now a cat.

The amazing blazing blue fight that went so crazy downstairs and turned so ugly! I thought for sure Canter would just waste them, but what a turn we took!

Canter, unable to resist bragging and telling a Bluecoat that we took out the Red Sashes! Gave us 2 Rep and 2 XP! John telling us to take everything we can for it…because we’re going to pay for it soon.

Updated sheets on Roll20! Thanks sheet makers!

The conflict over whether we should go after Strangford was so good. Arcy wants him, and she wants him bad! She’s trying to sell her gang that he’s profitable for us, but in truth, she just wants to her him.

Oskarr, scrapping with the rest of us. So good!

“I wonder if we can put all the bodies in a wheelbarrow…and have the lampblack wheel the back.” – Oskarr, pondering how we’ll make a point.

John moving time forward and giving us a new set of trouble. Having a new season with new problems meant that we’re scrambling again…just where we should be.

I can’t wait to see what Canter does with the Lampblacks…should be some fucking gnarly stuff there.

Stras posted his new Playset: Scum and Villainy!

What could have improved

I keep getting Strathmill and Strangford mixed up!

We keep talking about hawking and we keep ending up doing other stuff. We’re Cultists, we’re Breakers, someday we’ll be Hawkers again!

We got really hung up in the beginning planning our score. John addresses how we stopped playing Blades for a bit when we as players started shooting down our potential plan in this video. Stras and I talked about it after game and my big concern was pushing too hard as a player and making it all about my character’s story. I have been unburdened of that fear and will be pushing VERY hard for what Arcy wants next session!

Actual Play – Functional Murder Fashion (6/8/2016)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6

Advanced GM Moves

“Imagine something cool” – A GM move available for the high end backers.

Payoff and fallout from last session

Arcy retroactively acquired two stress and Trauma accordingly. She is now cold.

New Claim: Cover Operation (dueling school)
Coin: 12 Coin (raiding the Sashes’ coffers), -3 (paid to the Lampblacks).

  • Paying Baszo off however, could have revealed our reasons for holding out on him… that we know he’s on our list of gangs we’ve got to eventually take down, but Canter

Rep: 0 (nobody knows we did it)
Status: +2 with Lampblacks, -1 with Iruvian Consolate, -1 with Forgotten Gods
Heat: 4 (Nobody knows exactly what happened but there is a vibe that something happened. Wasn’t there a war going on?
A whisper and maybe some other red sashes made it out alive…if they were smart enough to bolt early!

Gang Trouble: Our gangs destroy and Irruvian shrine because it looked like a Red Sash, got into a fight, and killed an Irruvian at a bar.

Offering bodies to Setarra

As part of the disposal process, to rid ourselves of bodies before ghosts rose out of them, we began offering the infected dead (which was most of them) to Setarra via the pool. Those that didn’t make the mark, we hauled off for incineration.

However, Arcy had a reason to hold back, at least briefly, to ensure that Setarra would come to them and she would have a chance to speak with the demon. Oskarr, perhaps much wiser in the ways of consorting with demons, strong, strongly, cautioned against Arcy trying to use the bodies as leverage.

“The moment you think you have leverage on a demon is when you’ve already lost.”Oskarr Scurlock, binder to Setarra.

Rumors abound

Something happened to the Spirit Wardens…what was it? [John hadn’t make the fortune roll to find out how they did yet. Setarra vs. the Spirit Wardens. We rolled in session…not good for the Wardens]. What we hear from our own guys.

The rookery, the spirit warden’s armored carriage is torn all to pieces. The bodies of the spirit wardens were flayed and hung up on lamp posts all over the docks. Horrible noises were heard. Rumors were about about a thousand ghosts coming out of the sea or other horrors happening.

There is a terrible vibe in the docks that the hammer is going to come down. The Spirit Wardens never get hit like this…they are going to hit back hard!

Handling our Entanglements

Gang Trouble – One of the gang members causes problems because of one of their flaws. In this case, savagery, sent in the wrong direction toward the Iruvian Consulate.

“People need to know why we’re murdering other people.” – Canter Haig, on why our rep matters.

We decided we were going to punish the offender, but Arcy gave a lot of push back. She was going to be the tool that delivered the punishment, but she really wanted to know how we decided who was going to get punished. She eventually agreed, but seeing her push back, Oskarr doubled down that this was all people respecting us, and us standing together. Arcy went form reluctantly enforcing our rule to walking in with purpose.

“Maybe instead of beating her up, we should just throw her in the corpse toilet for a while.” Canter, on punishment.

Arcy took Cricket out to drink at the bar where she killed a guy, and in the middle of a friendly drink, suddenly started asking her what the fuck she was thinking, and when she paused, smashed her head down through her shot glass, into the bar, and cracked the wood beneath it.



Arcy made contact with Setarra by holding a body over the water and waiting for her to come for it. When Setarra arrived she took hold of the body and made it clear she could simply take it from Arcy if she wanted to.

Arcy in turn, asked for the name of the demon that Strathmill made a pact with, and told her that she knew Oskarr had her bound, and we could simply take the information from her if we wanted to! She felt a fear but also a thrill at Setarra’s appearance.

Oskarr had a chance to step back and leave Arcy on her own, but decided to stand by her side and put the pressure on Setarra, which worked!

“You look deep into the bottomless dark pools of her black eyes…you feel this overwhelming urge… and you get a vision”

The vision was awesome. John is amazing. I can’t even capture it with words. Check out part 2 (below), at the 43:20 mark!

Tyraxus, a Radiant Being, too bright to look at, which infuses metal ship with lightning, bound to the Nightbreaker. A creature that Setarra is filled with murderous hatred for this thing.

Emperor Haig

With his new boon companion Rothe, Canter began interviewing personal tailors. “I need a sartorial henchman, and I need one now.” – Canter.

Canter’s fashion sense is moving away from rakish though to delusions of grandeur! [A six tick clock to get a personal tailor. Another six tick clock to make him a close contact.]

With Oskarr’s help (who recruited Anya) they invited prospective tailors to a soiree to show off their wares, where Canter and Rothe reviewed their work!

“Before we can be truly fashionable, we first have to be more outrageous.” – Canter, describing his ideal attempt.

First attempt:  Everyone in the fashion community is rejected one at a time! They are avant garde but they aren’t crazy enough.  [1/6 ticks]
Second attempt: Second attempt. Just as someone was going to sign up, they realized how crazy Canter is [2/6 ticks]


To silence the Deathseeker crows and the bells of the Crematorium – What is it’s effect and how is it weird? Effect is self explanatory.  You have to vomit forth ectoplasmic crows that that take the place of the Deathseeker Crows. To perform, you must capture a Deathseeker crow and sacrifice it. The price is that every death that is absorbed must be relived by the ritual performer. The price is paid to the Deathseeker crows. This instills a new behavior, moving like a crow (perching on the edge of seats, picking at shiny objects).

To bind a familiar, a beast or creature, that can speak to it’s master, and absorb some of the mystical brunt [stress] for the practitioner. Pre-cataclysm witchcraft! You need to find an example of this creature that lives in the deathlands. All of nature was destroyed during the cataclysm but a few special instances of these creatures exist. They survive by being partly spirit and partly physical. The price? A portion of your life, cutting away part of your humanity, paid to the creature [1 trauma]. A new belief or knowledge: Understanding that most truly power mystics are not fully human. For a whisper to be truly effective they can’t stay clean because it’s just too expensive.

“Do you remember when dark magic was really dark? Scurlock Farms remembers.” – Scurlock family slogan?

First attempt: Attuning by looking through the electroplasmic field and then, channelling it’s energy, began to walk through to experiment how close the ghosts are  [1/8 ticks]

Second attempt: Kitted out in deathseeker garb and charms. Protected by a shark cage of lighting and there are masses of ghosts all clustered around and into the fine dust and ash. Outside, surrounded by ghosts and looking out into the darkness, Oskarr saw something far outside the city, glowing eyes, that look at him and then dart away [2/8 ticks]

Third attempt: Hiring a gang of deathlands scavengers. A chain gang goes out, protected by whispers. The first few to make it out are swarmed, possessed, but a few of them make it past. And after the first few hundred yards the density of spirits decreases. It’s still dangerous, but possible to survive if protected and wary [7/8 ticks]

Fourth attempt: Covering wicker dolls in life essence to act as decoys, Oskarr roves out, past the ghosts and binds his familiar! [8/8 ticks!]

Oskarr’s indulgence…Arcy’s education

When Oskarr was going to go out, Arcy tagged along, and did so asking many pointed questions about demons. Oskarr let her come with him, not so much for her education, but because he was please that she had crossed over to the life of a criminal, and maybe a little be that she was taking interest in the occult, he let her come along.

And of course, when you go to the part of town full of reconciled ghosts, the possessed, and spirits of other sorts, Oskarr fit right in and Arcy stood out like a sore thumb. She would have been fresh meat to all these strangers…if they couldn’t see Setarra’s mark on her. [Resolve training for Arcy. Vice recovery for Oskarr]


Oskarr talked and talked and talked.

“All you’ve gotta do is be possessed for a couple of hours. It’s like sleeping but you remember it.” – Oskarr Scurlock, on gaining knowledge.

On the walk home Oskarr turned and looked to Arcy, and saw her stab him through the throat…reliving one of the deaths from the Red Sashes.


Oskarr’s burnt hand finally healed…. still burning in the ghost field.

Reduce Heat

Larose disappeared some paperwork to slow down the Spirit Warden investigation. [Heat reduced from 5 to 3]

Wedding preparation

We found out the contents of the Iruvian Cameo had a painting of a handsome and daring Iruvian man, which Canter quickly pried out and threw away.

Canter visited Petra, his friend the city clerk, and asked about how one goes about getting married and what the marital status of captain whatsherface.  Petra was surprised to find out Canter was investigating that Linea and he rubbed it in slightly as they poured over the books together. Canter found her Letter of Mark to work out of the cities in Akkoros. The first mark, seven years ago, indicated that she was married. The renewed mark, listed her as single [4 of 8 ticks].

Also of note that in her very first trip up north, Mylera Klev was with her, and Mylera’s documents showed that she was exiled from Iruvia!


Canter did some playbook training to fill in his last dot.

Blades on Air


What Rocked

The tension between our crew about what to do with Cricket was phenomenal. I loved seeing us all have to really be overt about our motivations and desire.

The punishment was rather rewarding as well. It was a chance to bring our new recruits up to speed about what happens when you step out of line. Lesson learned “Arcy will fuck your shit up.”

If you’re drinking with the Bloodletters you never put your drink down as someone might smash your head into it.  – A new tradition formed.

I only caught this in the re-watching of it but I just love that the ship called the Nightbreaker, is infused with the power of a radiant being, who is hated by Setarra a demon of darkness.

Functional Murder Fashion!

So many good lines from Adam and Stras this session. I tried to capture most of them as quotes above.

I almost called this game session “Arcy goes cold” but then thought that was being just a tad too narcissistic. Still, it was great playing up Arcy’s trauma and watching it get deeper and deeper into a life she wants to break free from.

What could have improved

After the game, and then in some email follow up as well we talked about the direction of the game, and that if it goes all supernatural, all the time, there really won’t be a place for Canter in it. We’ve got to remember that this game started, and is about, drug dealers. That is Canter’s home and it’s the place we want to live in too!

Actual Play – Death to the Red Sashes (5/4/2016)

blades_overlay_bloodletters_titleGM: John Harper
Players: Stras Acimovic, Adam Koebel, and Sean Nittner
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6

Last session ended with a great cliffhanger: Oskarr opening a ghost door into Setarra’s pool, engraved in the same manner as the pool in our tattoo parlor basement. Setarra reaching out to grab hold of us…and presumably transport us through her dark realm.

Gang Advancement

We had some discussion about what crew upgrade we could take and opted for a veteran move Blood Brothers, which is a pretty damn sweet move if you have Thugs, can then also make them Rooks, and with a future crew upgrade, can make them fine Rook/Thugs

Blood Brothers

And who said we don’t game the system!


Note: this is a lot of vain let-me-tell-you-about-my-character thoughts. Feel free to skip to the next section if the style of buttons on Arcy’s coat doesn’t float your boat.

We cut just just before she took hold of us and I’m really glad we did. It gave me a lot of time to think about Arcy’s reaction. She’s encountered demons before, but only in the form of leviathans deep in the void sea. Never up close like this. Also, she’s just been in flat out denial about what the leviathan blood they have been selling addicts has been doing to them, notably corrupting them and turning them into some kind of half-alive demon-human hybrids.

So what would Arcy do when all that denial became impossible, when she had to confront the fact that yes, we are dealing with demons, that we are granting them hold on humanity, and worst of all that Oskarr has been personally consorting with one. My first thought is go for a sword and start hacking. But…how well could that possibly work. Not only does Setarra have her bested in all forms of physical conflict in addition to supernatural powers of terror and transportation, but, she’s also done this once before. She’s learned that a man she trusted consorted with demons and tried to fight it. She lost her children, her husband, her job, her freedom, and almost her life. Would she be so ready to make the same mistake again?

So what were her choices? Fighting seemed futile and contrary. Running seemed nearly as bad. I mean, it would make some sense from the character’s perspective, but I think it would have been a giant refusal to the part of the world that Stras has created. Arcy reels back, and we’re back to square one, fighting over the principle of the thing rather than seeing what happens. So, much like Arcy, I decided to take a deep breath, and just see what happens. Arcy, a mortal, is filled with supernatural dread in the face of demon. Let’s let that dread take over for long enough that she has to go along with the plan.

Arcy KeelI also thought a bit more about her appearance. I’ve know she was a tall, muscular, black woman from the get go, but I hadn’t thought much about what she wears or how she carries herself, and then I found this image and it sealed the deal for me. Thinking about that make me wonder what an ex-naval officer who still cleaved to her old life would dress in:

Dress: A high collar double breasted naval officers coat that is in tatters. the sleeves are removed showing torn hemming, the epaulettes have also been removed, cut off by with short stubs remaining. Once round golden buttons has been replaced by long wooden toggles. The coat is heavy, reinforced with thin metal bands sewn into the breast, back, and frock. Beneath it she normally wears a simple halter top and trousers.

Yay, I’m glad I had the time to think on it before we started the game!

On a Magic Carpet Ride

“Woah, I’ve already got a girlfriend.” – Cainter Haig, as a shark eyed demon pulls him into her otherworld dimension.

Setarra grabbed us. Arcy scowled. Canter caviled. Oskarr smiled. And – whoosh – we were off!

Setarra pulled us under the water (mind you the water that only appeared a few inches deep, but for her connected to a whole underwater squidly dimension) and pulled us deep, deep down. We glided through the water at incredible speed, feeling as though our lungs would burst at the pressure of staying down so long. As we moved, something massive passed by us and, like a massive iron steamship, forced us away in it’s continual wake. A leviathan perhaps? Arcy didn’t look to close.

The entire process was a traumatic one, but Oskarr was shielding Arcy and Canter from the worst of it. [Mechanically we all had to make a resistance roll to endure the passage, but Oskarr made it for us]. As we went deeper on her world, we saw these distant lights glowing and then fading. As it turned out they were closer than we expected, because the light was actually these massive floating stone eggs that pulsed gently from within. The eggs were wrapped in a scintillating chain made of metal we had never seen before, which anchored them to the sandy rock bottom beneath. On the ocean floor, were other, smaller figures. Men and women slowly leaking a black blood fluid that floated up and through the porous membranes of the eggs above. As Setarra passed the eggs, she exerted and invisible force that pushed them aside slightly and we caught a better glimpse of the corpses below, not quite dead, with blacks scales visible beneath their decomposing flesh.

Then, when we couldn’t not possibly hold our breath a moment longer we were thrust out of the pool beneath our tattoo parlor and slid across the floor in a torrent of void sea. When we gathered our senses Oskarr was standing beside the pool, completely dry and Setarra was gone. Arcy and Canter however were soaking wet and gasping for air.

Arcy’s reaction – Was that real? Yes it was real, because clearly we just went from Scurlock Manner to the tattoo parlor in a matter of moments. If that was real, that means Oskarr is consorting with a demon. And if that is the case, how can she ever trust him again?

Oskarr’s reaction – Nothing has changed. This is why I’m in the gang, to take care of the things nobody else wants to. That was the demon that raised me. You can trust me just as much as you did yesterday.

Cantor’s reaction – Witch boy, my guns are wet. I’m going to go throw up now. Figure this shit out.

Spirit Warden Problems

Upstairs and outside we heard some distant shouts as well as hooves on cobblestones (notably horse, rather than goat hooves). When we came up the stairs we found the door to the basement had been hastily bricked over, but no mortor was used. As Arcy pushed it open the bricks clattered down and the makeshift concealment was destroyed. The lights were all out in the parlor and the windows shuttered. Outside we could see a powerful electric spotlight being shined into windows, and we could hear people, presumably Bluecoats and Spirit Wardens shouting orders at each other as well as citizens complaining.

Before the lights got to us, we saw Cyclops run through the shadows and hastily in the building. Surprised to see us there he told us that after that asshole Rothe went and challenged the Red Sashes, he told everyone else to lay low until we were ready to attack. He wasn’t sure what was going on outside, but it didn’t look good.

Considering the options of going back through the demon pool or bolting on foot, we opted for the method that might not show ups as a giant red flashing light to spirit wardens scanning the ghost field.

The gear up montage

We had a quick scenes of us gearing up for the hit, which included to flashbacks to downtime actions [mechanically we spent coin to make them happen]. Some of the highlights

  • Canter strapping on his guns. Filling a wax sealed oilskin bag with ammunition.
  • Arcy tightening a bladed metal vambrace to her forearm, sheathing her sword, and shoving newly acquired alchemical bombs into her coat.
  • Oskarr preparing a ritual involving the albino deathseeker crow first pinned to a board and later consumed whole.

You know, all the normal stuff.

I’m In Your Base, Killing Your Dudes

And then the violence happened.

Carried by Setarra through her infernal realm, Canter, Oskarr, Arcy, Cyclops, and Rothe sprang up inside the Red Sashes dojo, right out of their drinking pool. As a surprised and shocked student ladling out a cup of water was suddenly looking down the barrel of Carnter’s pistol, Arcy dropped the fine quality ball of alchemically produced silence, and Canter pulled the trigger.

Queue silent film of a slaughter. Rothe was deadly and precise. Canter was blasting away. Arcy was up close and brutal. Oskcarr was preparing his ritual. It went nearly as smooth as could be hoped for, with the slight small flub that our gang of thugs outside (who while now rooks, aren’t shadows, so they don’t know a lot about staying quiet), but that was overcome with quick murdering.

We opened the carriage house gates, which surely would have made a horrible creaking sound if not for the supernatural silence and then let in Rothe’s killers, our thugs, and all the the Lampblacks. Some highlights of the slaughter:

  • Rothe uninviting Canter to tea after he shot at one of the fencing masters that Rothe was trying to duel.
  • Oskarr discovering a forbidden god “She Who Slays in Darkness” that protected the manor, and gaining her full attention [all four ticks on a clock filled up]
  • Flashing back to Cricked making a map of people’s coming and goings so we knew where to hit them.
  • Bazso Baz swinging a military greatsword to clear the path, then using it to bar a door, then opening the door when we were all ready to attack.
  • Canter walking through the fight putting lead in fools that were trying to have a sword fight (even when that put him in a precarious situation).
  • Arcy calling out Mylera Klev to fight one on one, then tackling her down the stairs and staring her down…followed by the inevitable.
  • Canter grabbing his crotch and taking a shot at Mylera. A fatal shot at that, but one that didn’t kill her till she was all the way in his face and wrapped up in a giant red curtain, her iruvian charm hanging cold against his face.
  • Oskarr saving Canter from being stabbed a dozen times while wrapped up, by summoning and explosive tempest that knocked the sashes asunder.
  • She Who Slays in Darkness manifesting and putting her hand on Oskarr’s shoulder.
She Who Slays In Darkness by @DarkLavendrVoid
She Who Slays In Darkness by @DarkLavendrVoid

Arcy and Canter at an impasse

Of course Arcy and Canter were of different minds about what to do with Mylera. I thought it might have been the moment when Arcy left the crew. Johh called it in game. She could have tried to protect Mylera, to honor the deal she made… but instead she bowed to the inevitable and gave Canter a perfect set up, “Oh Mylera, one more thing.”

In a lot of ways that was great. It gave Canter all the rope he needed to hang himself with when it comes to Linea, and I’m excited to see that go down. On the other hand I think it represent Arcy just breaking as a person. Becoming weaker and enduring what she hates rather than doing something about it. It was really an extension of going along with Oskarr plan to use Setarra to transport us. She just didn’t have the energy to fight any more, which is a shame.

I’m still going over it in my head. Should she have stopped him? What would have happened? Would it still have been fun for all at the table (or in this case on the stream)? While I ponder on that, consider that I think of Arcy and Canter as Farid and Emma from Compromised Beliefs.


Blades on Air

What Rocked

I think you could classify it as: Option D, All of the Above!

Some great lines were “Arcy finished the fight, Canter begins the slaughter.” and “You say Devil’s Bargain, Osckar says “Hello!”.

We crime’d pretty damn hard. We claimed turf (a cover operation) and destroyed another faction! We also go dropped down to a tier 1 gang ourselves. I’m glad the war was over fast!

Our competition of who got to play Rothe’s servants, and later his horse. We could totally play the “Master Kinclaith” show all night long!

Rosario Dawson. Enough said.

What could have improved

As mentioned above, I’m still agonizing some of the decision to be complicit in Mylera’s murder. We ta’led a lot after the game. For hours really about all kind of stuff, but one of the things is “what the hell is going on in Arcy’s mind.” And the closest analogy I could give was Seth Bullock protecting a man from the angry mob, even though he knew the man was guilt and would be hung (opening scene of Deadwood). The internal struggle of having beliefs and values and then constantly failing to uphold them is an ugly one.