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Blades In The Dark – Session 20

Twentieth Session – The final fight on dark Leviathan-haunted seas as the Gambler’s Orphans execute upon their last contract as a mercenary group, the death of Lord Strangford, and try to save all of Duskvol in the bargain!

Before we sail for death or glory, there’s one last Downtime. Reis makes love to Delasia Finchester for what may well be the last time, and puts together a ritual to the sea demon Setarra to summon a horde of sea zombies at the cost of two human sacrifices. Everyone else blows off stress in their accustomed ways. Hasten and Marto go out to party with Rauth Kinclaith and Cantor from the Bloodletters, which ends up adding so much heat on the group they have to go mess with some bad guys from a gang called the Hive to undo the damage. Kraid gets a tier 7 anti-Leviathan rocket bomb and also kills some Hive goons, sending us to war with them. Then we take all our gang and cohorts and armaments and Bloodletters and a demon hunter named “Salty Gomash” and board ship.

The Dagger Isles ship Ischariyya’s Lament cuts across the dark haunted seas as we seek out Lord Strangford’s ship Unironic and his crazy plan to lead a Leviathan right to the city.

The Unironic has an anti-ghost field to keep off all the sea ghosts attracted by Leviathan blood. They torpedo us and we rocket-bomb them, knocking the field down – ghosts attack everyone. We board but our gang starts taking heavy losses. Reis casts Setarra’s Lament and suddenly we have like 80 zombies on our side. Troll the Hull uses his electroplasmic gatling gun on the sailor cultists.

A wave of bosses come after us – some ninja kid possessed by a demon, and Old Man kung fu killer who sprays Leviathan blood, and a hydraulic hull. Horribly violent fighting results.

Kraid goes belowdecks and confronts Lord Strangford, and promptly is burned by ectoplasm and thrown to the tentacles. The Orphan’s forces try to pin him down as Reis, RC, and Hasten Doom get the ship underway and try to lure the oncoming Leviathan away from the city. Everyone starts migrating down to take a crack at Strangford but he’s tough. Kraid rallies and attacks him again and again falls unconscious into the loving embrace of the tentacles in the hold.

Reis decides “fuck this shit” and drops a high-Tier grenade down through a hatch, sorely wounding Strangford. Given this opening, people pull back and Troll and Marto pour fire onto the man. He eventually falls into the tentacles. Some folks try to pull Kraid out of the tentacles but they are too naughty and they are forced to retire.

We lure the Leviathan away from the city by kiting it with the Unironic, and abandon ship for our corsair right before it catches up and tears up the huge oil tanker sized ship like it is a Christmas present. Kraid is lost, to our chagrin.

Back in Duskvol, the surviving Gambler’s Orphans are set up pretty well. Hasten Doom becomes their bear-blood quaffing leader as Marto goes to wander the wastes. Reis retires to the Dimmer Sisters’ mansion and the arms of Dylasia Finchester… And possible the arms of Setarra, eventually.

Kraid washes up on shore. His eyes open and they are jet black.

The end.

Blades In The Dark – Session 19

Nineteenth Session – Time to put Lord Strangford six feet under, but he’s skipped town in his Leviathan hunting ship so we need a ship and a crew to go after him.

We got him kicked off the City Council and he bails. We go find a gang called the Bloodcutters with some ex-Leviathan sailors and plan to take them and their tattoo parlor over. Via Captain Luckett we make contact with one of their lieutenants, ex-Captain Keel. She says she’ll bring them to talk to the boss if we steal her some Leviathan blood. So we do, it’s valuable so we expect resistance. Indeed, we fight teamsters and dogs but steal 4 barrels, keeping 3 for ourselves.

We “deliver” the blood to the tattoo parlor and find a bunch of corpses and a well-altar to Setarra the sea-demon in the basement. Reis summons her and she appears and tries to get him to serve her and put all of Kotor’s parts into himself. “Tempting…” he thinks. She wants horrible things but what if one could, you know, string her along without doing anything too bad… She apparently has some member of the gang named Oscar in her thrall already.

Then we have some personnel problems in that our new Hull (steampunk flesh golem thing) inhabited by the ghost of Sergeant Troll is all depressed because he can’t drink and whore any more. We decide to get a favorite hooker of his, Moxie, to try to make him feel better, which she agrees to do for a large sum of money. We get him “drunk” on electroplasm and they do… something. But he ends up happy, which is important for an incredibly strong killing machine.

Then we go take over a Dagger Isles corsair ship to go after Strangford, with some of the Bloodletters to help sail, RC Keel and Cantor. A lot of pirate fighting happens; Reis manages to take out the Captain, which he considers himself required to do since he’s a Dagger Isles corsair by heritage himself. We have the ship and get it underway! Reis dumps bodies overboard while consecrating them to Setarra. Cantor complains, “You sound just like Oscar.”

Next time – the campaign finale!

Blades In The Dark – Session 18

Eighteenth Session – A key to a ghost vault of the Sonurian family and infiltration of a parade lead us to the Mellified Man.

In an odd side quest when a Leviathan is coming to devour the city, we discuver the ghost key we stole from the Iruvian Embassy opens some supernatural vault from the now-defunct Sonurian family. But to use it we need a Sonurian family member.

Some research with the Circle of Flame puts us on the trail of Lord Dunville’s wife, who is from the Sonurian bloodline. She is on a float at the annual Hadar Parade put on by the Iruvian Beneficial Society, which we sneak onto. And yes, we make a bunch of immature jokes about “So, how is it living with IBS?” and the like.

She gets attacked by some of Strangford’s goons which is good because our sweet-talking wasn’t really working; we beat back the attackers and get in her good graces. Reis has to take a devil’s bargain to realize she’ll never sleep with him (she is one of his two “types” – powerful high society women or powerful weird supernatural women. Delasia Finchester combines both of these so she’s the alpha, but, you know, options…).

Finally Lord Dunville pays us for the key and we go take his wife and two of his hirelings, Kelly and Nathaniel, to go open the magical gate to the tomb (it’s in a sodden part of town). It’s weird and spooky and we are all on super high alert. We find an irritable zombie monk, Ilock Theer, who Lady Dunville interrogates about ‘the Mellified Man.’ We don’t know what that means but Kelly about shits a brick when he hears it. The monk gets us a piece of the Mellified Man, a honey-infused piece of flesh from the progenitor of their line that is said to cure any disease.

We go to leave but a bunch of Iruvian cultists lie in wait outside. Kelly turns on us. We kill them all; Nathaniel fights us some because Kelly’s his boyfriend but we let him leave. Mission accomplished, and Dunville agrees to vote Lord Strangford off the City Council!

Then for downtime, it’s mostly gambling and bear blood snorting but Reis does get a Hull online and uses Sergeant Troll’s ghost to inhabit it. (The summary says Private Pyle, but he’s not dead as best as I know.)

Blades In The Dark – Session 17

Seventeenth Session – We go to thwart Lord Strangford’s horse stealing ways and are attacked by elite frogmen!  Like, they are actually some kind of Deep One-esque aquatic humanoids, as well as someone we posit is popular with the ladies; we know him only as Tentacle Mouth. Then we go get the Heart of Kotor – this Kotor guy has every body part strewn somewhere.

Strangford needs demon horses for his ritual and he’s been getting them from Baron Kinclaith’s stables. He won’t sell him any more because he found out about his naughtiness, but we figure theft is close behind. Sure enough, a whole bunch of fish-men appear, unfortunately while Bluecoats are hassling our characters due to a terrible initiation roll.

Marto just starts shooting from a window; luckily Reis keeps his head and is like “Oh no someone’s shooting at us!” to the coppers. Everyone pretty much leaves him to hold off the po-po while we go to take care of business. They just fire into the building indiscriminately, you know, how cops do.

Kraid finds himself facing a black scale armor-clad glaive-wearing beefcake with a big ol tentacle coming out of his mouth. Reis heads in to warn Lord Kinclaith and try to get him to accept our help. Of course, we did kidnap and ransom his son to him, and that son makes it pretty clear he wants to kill us during this coming melee, so there’s that.

Hasten Doom and Kraid kill all the bad guys, but the equivalent of a space herpy comes out of tentacle guy and scoots around. Kraid chases it through the city while Hasten takes a prisoner – these guys are all tattooed Leviathan hunter sailors. Strangford vouches for us being his “private security” to the cops and they slink away. ACAB!

Then there’s another bear blood orgy (Reis declines to participate) and Dylasia tells us the Heart of Kotor is being held in the Iruvian Embassy to give to their Emperor. Marto, of course, is super into being Iruvian. An embassy safe is a hard target, but as the actual consul is giving us intel we know pretty much where to go.

So we cook up an embassy infiltration plan where most of the team goes in the front and reenacts the scene only lightly modified from Lethal Weapon 2 (“But… but… You’re not bleck!”) while Reis ghostwalks through the back wall. Marto and Kraid get the guards to take them into a private roomn for a “party”, and once they are out, turn off the electrified floor in the vault (!) so Reis and Hasten can get in. We get the Heart, steal other stuff (ghost key!), and bail. Marto and Kraid come under some suspicion but acquit themselves well under questioning.

The heart is in a bag with a tracer enchantment which we give to our captive from Part 1, possess him with a ghost, and have him scamper off through the city and do a “Banzai” self destruction with a grenade to throw the Iruvians off our trail.

This was a fun session and the two elements doing back and forth Ocean’s 11 type stuff for the embassy job was nice, as was pulling a job where we didn’t resort to murdering everyone in sight. Duskvol has like magic bells that go off when there’s a murder to bring the Spirit Wardens because of the ghost threat, but the GM takes it easy on that so usually someone (where someone is usually Kraid but sometimes Marto) just decides to mass murder.

Blades In The Dark – Session 16

Sixteenth Session – Our gang moves up to Tier 3 as a result of knocking out the Dimmer Sisters. So we go to begin our direct operations against our long term target Lord Strangford, by… Making a scene at his party!

We tier up which makes all our stuff better. Reis starts trying to rebuild the Dimmer Sisters’ place because he’s always wanted a haunted mansion of his own, and also lets his pal ghost Salia possess him and goes on a date with Delasia Finchester, not for the first time, it’s becoming his own Whisper kink. Hasten Doom goes to party with Marlene and inject more bear blood because he’s a crazed junkie now. And Marto makes more ghost biting dogs.

For those of you not reading carefully, this is also the culmination of a long running feud in the company. Private Pyle had said inappropriate things to our patron Delasia Finchester, so Reis had made Pyle go wash all the homeless people in the gang’s holdings. Some time after, someone mysteriously peed in Reis’ bed. So Reis set up an electroshock trap. Now this session, Pyle reports to Kraid with bad electrical burns to his junk.

We find out from Kraid’s special friend Captain Luckett that Lord Strangford is having a party, and now that we’re Tier 3 we imagine we can start to mess with him without getting wiped out immediately. So some folks go in as +1s for the more socially placed women, some sneak in and pretend to be footmen.

In a surprise move Strangford says he’s retiring and leaving all his Leviathan hunting fleet to Captain Luckett, which is a huge surprise to everyone. Hasten Doom and Marto search around for intel and find some weird shrine to a pelagic deity, probably a Leviathan. Marto has to kill a fellow Iruvian servant to prevent being detected and it unhinges him a bit and we have to extract the corpse as well to placate him. Reis and Kraid cause social strife in the party itself. We get out with a minimum of other conflict.

Looking over the liberated paperwork indicates that Strangford is getting some specific breed of demon-blooded horses to take out on his ships and sacrifice to bring a Leviathan to come and eat all of Duskvol because he’s super crazy and to get out of unfavorable long term commercial leases.

Blades In The Dark – Session 15

Fifteenth Session – The orphanage is besieged by a mob of ghosts!  Sent by the Dimmer Sisters. How shall we get away from them and put paid to the Dimmer Sisters?  Especially if their mansion has a load bearing ghost in it? 

Well, first we sneak out via the sewers and get some Centralia Club occultists to help us, then we lead the ghosts on a cab chase through the city and right into the Ghost Warden HQ (anti ghost cops), the Bellwether Crematorium. This generates a truly huge ghost on cop melee.

As usual it’s a very complicated and dangerous procedure to try to convince police of the truth, but we manage to extricate ourselves and convince the Spirit Wardens that these ghosts are from the Dimmer Sisters and they go protect the orphanage.

Over the next couple weeks the Spirit Wardens raid the Dimmer Sisters but apparently just take away their loot, so we decide to finally move on them. We head over and then it’s a scene from Monster House because the house itself is possessed. Reis exorcises it and it ends up partly collapsing.

We make our way into the basement and there’s a mess of Dimmer Sisters, some more lizardy than others, and some weird aquatic mutated llama demon, the Sodden One. We fight Sisters and people nearly get swallowed by the Sodden One – Kraid does get swallowed, once. Finally we trap it in a pit and seal it into an alternate dimension, kill most but take the one remaining Dimmer Sister as a hostage (the green eyed one, Reis hates killing hot women) and take ownership of the mansion by right of conquest.

A lot of fight! I like it when Reis gets lots of ghost-supernatural things to do because that’s his core competency.

Blades In The Dark – Session 14

Fourteenth Session – We go to attack the notorious Dimmer Sisters’ mansion to steal the Eye of Kotor (like the Eye of Vecna) and it’s just as crazy and magically demented as you might expect.

But first, we do downtime, and Hasten Doom sets up a drug business, Reis inscribes a magical tattoo on his body, and Marto, and I quote, “wants to find a source for vicious spiked collars with his friend Corasso.” Heh heh I bet he does the cheeky monkey.

We go make sure the Crows gang won’t be upset with us taking on the Dimmer Sisters in their turf and they are fine with it. We have our allies the Gondoliers take us to their mansion through the canals but the ghost attacks start before we even get through the gate. Luckily Marto has made his dog able to bite ghosts. Reis uses his new ritual that lets him move through the ghost realm to pass through the wall to get them in.

We hack through ghosts and find some of the Dimmer Sisters doing some weird ritual with the Eye of Kotor. We mess them up with a Leviathan-song emitting phonograph and grab the Eye. More Sisters attack, one with cool Medusa style hair. It’s not clear how many of these Sisters there are. It’s quite a fight and it becomes clear we need to perform a fighting retreat. We bludgeon our way free of Sisters and ghosts alike and we’re good! We give the Eye to Delasia Finchester as Reis hits on her mercilessly.

Blades In The Dark – Session 13

Thirteenth Session – Reis and Toad run across some Greycloaks, ex-cops drummed out for being honest and help them despite their best efforts (ah, NPCs).  Then we do a social job to talk to them at our fighting pits. Somehow this leads to us running a kidnap plan on a noble bravo, Routh Kinclaith, and his girlfriend Lady Ashleigh Tier-Connell.

We go find them whooping it up at a bar. Both are privileged and violent and “whooping it up” involves intimidating and/or molesting locals.  Hasten Doom steals his sword and he chases us, and the rest of us pretend to be sycophants helping Routh chase him till we turn on him, snag the guy, hold him in a warehouse, duck his extremely scary girlfriend,  and use him to blackmail info out of his father, who’s selling special bloodline horses to Lord Strangford that have been taken out on Leviathan hunts and not coming back, so he is refusing to sell him any more.

We also start gathering intel on our main foe, Lord Strangford, the city council, who likes each other, all of that.

Blades In The Dark – Session 12

Twelfth Session – Some crazies that run a crematorium are abducting children so we go take care of that mainly by breaking in and killing everyone except the kids (though that’s a close thing because some of them get a bit stroppy).

The local gang, the Lost, doesn’t like us moving into the local crematorium, and rather than also kill them all because they seem like a nice “power to the people” kind of organization we strike a deal to go murder some crooked industrialist in exchange for squatting rights.  And we all know 1%ers don’t have souls, so we hop to with no scruples.

But first, downtime – everyone but Reis it seems has decided to get addicted to “bear blood”, some kind of drug.

We intrude into the rich nobleman’s mansion to thwart his gentrification. Hasten Doom goes in with an invisibility cloak and gets bitten by giant spiders and goes unconscious – sadly we don’t know that and can’t see or find his body, so we go threaten the guy after wasting his retainers and steal his stuff and leave and Hasten stays to get cocooned.

Blades In The Dark – Session 11

Eleventh Session – Someone called Gee Iniru Gah stole something called the Noladiches Cartography and framed Dylasia Finchester for it. Hasten Doom is in favor of addressing this for the reward; Reis is in favor of it for the end goal of getting in Dylasia’s pants – he’s becoming a social climber! This does lead us afoul of “Shelley the Killer”, however…

We make a complicated Ocean’s 11 type plan with a forged copy of the Cartography and getting a ghost to give us a map to get to the ghost map and arranging for the cops to show up at just the right time.  But then we run across a giant underground murder tree like from Harry Potter. It murders avidly. Gee Iniru Gah is a crazed sorcerer and Shelly the Killer is a mad stabber so it’s quite a time. But in the end, we stage Gee and the Cartography burning up in front of the Inspector so not only is Delasia cleared of the theft but we have the actual Cartography and we can give it to her. Woot!  I like the complicated multi-phase plans that get us everything we want.

Mike Pondsmith, Cyberpunk RPG Author, Interview In The Atlantic

Mike Pondsmith

Due of course to the computer game Cyberpunk 2077 dropping, The Atlantic did a full interview with R.Talsorian founder and Cyberpunk RPG creator Mike Pondsmith called “The Roleplaying Game That Predicted The Future”. It’s great to see a RPG author getting mainstream media exposure (and one that’s not affiliated with D&D, at that)!

Adventure Calendar

Hot tip from Tim: Grant Howitt, the guy who wrote Spire, is writing an adventure/setting entirely in the form of random tables, released once a day, until Christmas. One might call it an advent calendar but I guess that isn’t PC? Anyway, we’re at Day 11, D8 Slumbering Creatures That Have Awoken With The Coming of This Dreadful Winter. Seems fun!