GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Justin Atkins, David Saldivar, Jonas Lowery, and Dmitry Dreyzin
System: Blades in the Dark, Quickset Rules v.6
Jangle, Black Mouth Ann, Botler, and Nectar all had a plan. The Lampblacks hated them anyway so why not knock over one of their gambling houses.
They’d wait till just before Bazso and his goons came to pick up the take, when the pot was the richest, infiltrate the gambling hall, knock out a few Lampblacks like a few spiders and bugs, and be off with the kitty in no time at all.
Step back a second, how did this get started
I’m tinkering with Blades these days. Here are two way I know to start a score that works well:
- Use a score sheet that gives the players some choices about their sitch.
- Ask questions during character creation and wait for the players to get excited about a problem or opportunity and make the score about that.
So, why use a known method when you can try something new. I decided to try and emulate the method I saw John used when he ran a game for Big Bad Online. John asked some questions, as you do, during character creation, and when they were finished, he pulled a common thread between the three PCs together and asked if they wanted to do a score about that. Looks like it worked pretty well so I gave it a shot.
Jangle was on the outs with Lyssa. She had hired him to disappear a body for her, and it had to be gone in a short period of time. She made a deal with Chael, the head of Rail Jack family, to get it on a train leaving from Gaddoc Rail and then toss it off the train once they got outside the city. She didn’t want any part of it ever coming back. Bottler, Chael’s nephew, knew that Chael reneged on the deal, taking Lyssa’s money, the protective amulet around the corpses throat, and then tossed the body into the canals of Nightmarket. In a moment of civic duty and complete lack of self preservation, Bottler told the Spirit Wardens about this so they could incinerate the body, thus earning the ire of Chael and the rest of the Rail Jacks.
Black Mouth Ann peaved Bazso Baz by killing his lover Cross, and made it worse because Cross was his man on the side, so Bazso could even admit that he cared all that much when Cross died, but he did. Finally Nectar was in Setarra’s favor because she had been snared by a Spirt Warden’s trap, and he set her free. Since then she’s been offering him insights into the affairs of those inside Doskvol.
Having pissed of both the Crows and the Lampblacks, I suggested doing a score for the Red Sashes, namely knocking over one of the Lampblack gambling houses that was competing with theirs. Setarra could see into the hearts of several Lampblacks that bore her mark. She knew their fondness for whiskey and their naturally lax nature at all times except when they in direct conflict with the sashes. She fed this information, bit by bit to Nectar until they had a plan.
A bare knuckle boxing ring, located down an alley behind a butcher shop was an open secrets in Crows Foot. Three matches a night, top notch fighters, all with coin are welcome.
In a back room Brenna, Crine, Eddy, and Wester were all sharing war stories, while Birch did his best to ignore them and count the chits before Bazso game to pick up the earnings. Out front the bookies peddled the fighters odds while guards stood over their shoulder to make sure no one in the crowd tried to snatch a change box and more importantly that none of the bookies dropped bets into their own pockets.
In the ring, Marlane and Hix sparred playfully at first to warm up the crowd, then savagely to take home the purse.
This heist couldn’t have gone more wrong. Between Black Mouth Ann and Jangle bluffing their way into the back room, only to find there were a lot more Lampblacks than they expected [Engagement roll, mixed outcome, tougher than it looks] to Bottler letting his personal feeling for Marlane get him more focused on the match than the job, it was left up to Nectar to crack open a few windows and summon a tempest from outside that filled the covered the Lampblacks in a rime of frost to give Black Mouth Ann a moment to slip away from the guns pointed at her head, and fire at a junction box which killed the lights inside the building.
Even with these distractions our scoundrels were horribly outmatched and everything came down to a meeting where they had met with Mylera Klev who agreed to send in reinforcements of her own if needed. The signal was the lights going out. [Flashback with a hefty cost, 2 stress and the lion share of the kitty going to the Red Sashes].
With sash and sword to aid them, and Bottler’s fury directed away from fans of Hix and onto the Lampblacks, the scoundrels managed to grab the kitty and make it to the rooftops and out into the the night before Bazso and other reinforcements arrived!
This game was a great example of how many tools Blades had at their disposal. All the initial rolls were going horribly and the situation just kept getting worse for everyone. But as it did, my devils Bargains became more and more attractive, devil and all. Also the flashback to a meeting with Mylera, despite bargaining from a weak position, gave them the advantage they needed to get the effectiveness they needed (both quality and magnitude, which they were lacking before) to turn the tide. I loved watching them dig deep to pull off this score.
Specifically because things when so wrong, this was also a game where I instantly had ideas for what they might do next. Bazso would be coming at them hard. Setarra had given them an offer that wasn’t taken but was strongly considered, and the bluecoats had gotten wind of a new batch of troublemakers [They generated 9 heat on this score and jump right to having a wanted level] knocking over establishments. Since Officer Larose was in The Figg when it all went down and had gotten in a fist fight with Bottler (he was talking shit about Marlane), it wouldn’t be hard at all for the Bluecoats to identify them in the future!
What could have improved
Overall, I didn’t execute the Harper method all that well. I essentially said that two of the three major gangs in Crows Foot were already upset with our scoundrels, so why not do a job in the interest of the the third? The fact that they later used the Red Sashes as backup actually reinforced why the score made sense, but that wasn’t until they were neck deep in Lampblack shit.
Also Setarra’s connection to these frankly pedestrian crimes didn’t really click for me. I kept trying to figure out some occult reasons she would care about these peeps and nothing besides my own inside baseball reference to the Lampblacks getting demon blood tattoos really made any sense there. Thankfully Dmitry was very forgiving in this regard and was happy to run with this score to gain Setarra’s favor and put a few coin in the coffers.