Tag Archives: session summary

Blades In The Dark – Session 4

Fourth Session – The Red Sashes are no more, and we decide to start a fighting pit and start trouble with the Crows. I just watched Dolemite so I ensured that it ended up in a Dolemite-style club confrontation in the end!

We’re getting the hang of the game, so decide we need to expand our turf with a fighting pit (which will generate revenue for us). Of course you can’t do anything without stepping on some other gang, even though we did find a spot that had been off limits due to haunting but had recently been cleansed. We took it over and came up with a bunch of plans that we eventually decided were too complicated, and just started a fighting pit, invited Lampblack gang leader Bazsho Baz, and waited for the Crows to show up and start trouble.

They did; we played a weird game of brinkmanship with having the audience back our play but not so much they get murderized. There’s ghosts!  Shotguns! In the end we capture a couple of them and, since we’re from a professional mercenary unit, ransom them back to the Crows.

And Kraid continues his very long term plan to turn the homeless people in the turf we own into craftsmen, making nets… None of us can figure out why he’s sinking so much effort into it. His new friend Smelly Pete is proving useful, though.

Blades In The Dark – Session 3

Third Session – The Red Sashes decide to get back at us by coming to take over our homeless-infested mansion. A lot of violence ensues. Then when we go to try to sell off some bank notes we liberated, a captain woman decides she’ll ride Marto like a Harley on a bad piece of road.

The fight against the Red Sashes starts off pretty rough – the dice mechanic is not good in general (“get a 6 on a pool of 2d6, and you will be fine…”) and they are all higher tier which means penalties to that.  But the tide turns dramatically when Toad crits with a alchemist-bomb into a crowd of opposition and next thing you know we’re mopping up retreating survivors.

Of course, then we’re at war! So many rules… Downtime actions and gang stuff and clocks and mandatory stress relief and it all requires rolls that have collateral problems. But we’re getting by.  We get a bunch of ship captains and such to cut in on redeeming our stolen bank notes, and one takes a fancy to Marto the Bear, which entertains all of us except Bruce.

Blades In The Dark – Session 2

Second Session – We continue to maneuver with the other gangs like the Crows, Red Sashes, and Lampblacks.  We decide we need some turf so take over a  homeless camp. Starting small.  But we meet some lady in an Eyes Wide Shut kind of cult so that’s cool.

My guy can summon and semi-control ghosts, but when things go bad it’s a problem.  This session, our NPC gang members get in trouble betting in a fighting club and so I try to summon a ghost to break it up and I end up having a Ghostbusters kind of experience where I get an ancient god like Gozer instead but in a latrine instead of a refrigerator.

Then we decide to do a home invasion of some guy called Lord Skinnister.  I forget why, besides all his prostitute murders. Oh, right, it was to pay off the gambling debts of our hapless NPCs. Kraid murders his way through the house and we get to the Lord and his weird S&M dominatrix friend. She holds a knife to my throat but Kraid kills her anyway.  I banish him to the ghost dimension in an attempt to distract the ancient god that keeps bothering me.

The game system is very… game-y.  Luckily we had a discussion about this after the last game – so many of these newer games are kinda “meta”, with a lot of detailed rules about doing things that tempt you to plan, plan, plan, roll without pausing for actual in-character roleplay.  This game has that tendency, but we as a group determined we needed to put extra effort into counteracting that so it’s going well.

 

Blades In The Dark – Session 1

First Session – Welcome to our Blades In The Dark campaign!  Besides character and gang generation, we go to jack with the Red Sashes gang at the behest of the Lampblacks gang who are both destablizing the previously ascendant Crows gang.

Our gang, the Gambler’s Orphans, was a mercenary company on the losing end of a recent war.  Now our base is an orphanage, the Yaggo’s Home For Miscreant Children, in the Six Towers district.  We seek to build ourselves up into a force to be reckoned with!

  • Bruce is Marto “the Bear”, a Hound (murderer type 1).
  • Tim is Kraid Naben, a Cutter (murderer type 2).
  • Patrick is Thaddeus “Toad” Todd, a Leech (doctor/alchemist).
  • Chris is Hasten Doom, a Lurk (thief).
  • Ernest (I) am Reis, a Whisper (ghost wrangler).
  • And Paul is our GM.

We learn how to exercise the rules and plan and execute jobs. The job goes well and we take the Red Sash war treasury.  This is one of those mechanics where you need a 6 on d6 to succeed and succeeding with some major blowback is largely indistinguishable from failure, and you can usually boost up a pure fail into that fail-with-much-pain region.  I had played a one-shot of this game at Chupacabracon and had realized that it’s not much good as a one-shot because so much of the mechanic is about long term clocked goals and incurring wounds and stress and stuff that penalize you in subsequent sessions.

We also learn about their use of the hip new mechanic called “clocks”, which is making a pie-chart kind of circle and using it as a counter towards some goal.

Spire – Session 10 – Operation War Games

drowmurderAll our plotting has come to a head as our drow revolutionaries look to overthrow the Aelfir domination of the Spire. We have the prisoners of the Hive armed and ready to bust out. And in the bacchanals of the blind oracle, we see an opportunity to set the major defense forces of the Aelfir, the Black Guard and the Solar Guard, along with the Solar Church of the aelfir, against each other.

Marian of the bacchanals is working with “the demon of the lashing wind” to power the sex magic oracle effects. If the team wants to contact it, they would need an eidolon and a gift to make it work for them. Demonology in Spire and how it works – there are 20-30 known “demons” in Spire. The names allow demonologists to make subtle shifts in reality or artifacts (infusion) or incursion (let a demon lose on the population). Demonologists are public enemy #1 because an incursion could destroy a wide swath of the Spire.

Setting It Off

The team discusses a plan and comes up with:

  • Subvert the bacchanal – find a way to slip in the top ten nightmare scenarios from the high elf perspective to the visions as the next bad guys fingered by the oracle. Make sure the ministry and the prison are not the focus of those. Later, after the 10 visions, subvert the bacchanal so that it is an incursion to do a scorched-earth cleanup.
    • Target #1 – Mary of the bacchanals is trafficking in demonology. True ones are the best!
    • #2 – Light-Through-Splintered-Glass; finally we get rid of this knob-head.
    • #3 – Black Guard leader
    • #4 – Black Guard leader
    • #5 – High Elf Military leader “gnoll invasion level” – Lieutenant Radiant Word Scours the Sun.
    • #6 – Wicked Mr Alas’ lieutenant that is a demonologist
    • #7 – Our Glorious Lady Pope Maji Lalin – this one is popular with Drow.
    • #8 – Solar Church Archdeacon Many the Seedling’s
    • #9 – Councilman Drynn – somewhat related to Bohemian Crystalhead cult
    • #10 – Leader of the “sky whales” – Gwennit Saint Grendel, drow dock foreman.

Some of these are drow or drow-aligned, but you have to make the lineup plausible, so we feed them drow who will either get arrested/killed and destabilize the Spire or are powerful enough they’ll rally their own forces to fight back.

The team goes to to God Row to get the 10 visions into the seers’ head – They start with Heralds of the Prophecy!!! Based entirely off their neon sign and Slav’s religion domain.  One of them is a friend of the revolution.  Father Herald, Pope Herald, and Junior Herald represent the HotP. The heralds listen to their offer then ask them to return in 24 hours.  A vengeful knife is left to watch them to ensure that they do not betray the Ministry.  They are told the next day, “Buy ambrosia, we will load it with visions, and you’ll have to sneak it into the seers’ presence for consumption.”  Ambrosia can be consumed, tossed on a brazier, and other forms.

They arrange to show up to the next bacchanal and “feed” the ambrosia to the seer. They will appear as servants at the bacchanal.

Prep work for the revolution:

  • they have an army at the Hive prison
  • they have weapons for that army
  • Stella Blue, newspaperwoman – publishes stories about demonologists and incursions with the by-line “they’re bad for the drow and the high elf are responsible”.
  • Target list for that army and general hate list for the mobs – para-military, high elf leadership, drow quislings,
  • Lyddia gets the Guard arresting and confiscating food stuff caravans going to the upper levels. They get a warehouse of food.
  • Gladiators are lined up by our Hyena Priest – she gets arrested and thrown in the Hive.
  • Bound warriors are lined up but they end up fighting each other.
  • Hyena Priest Abu whips up the faithful in Charnel – they agree to riot when the time comes.
  • Slav gets the students riled up and radicalized. This is wildly successful.
  • Anastomosis – we magically spread the ideas that the high elves are abandoning the Spire due to ongoing costs, demonologists problems, human technology, drow family values, and the new gnoll army.
  • Mama Thinrees is brought in and prepared to making undying for the revolution – she agrees and prepares to make undying of heroes of the revolution, captured high elves, and so forth.
  • The Sect of the Great Glass Eye is primed to riot.
  • Vermissian Tubes via Bridge Street Station, the primary smuggling route from down spire to up spire, is successfully prepared to funnel half of the Hive army Ivory Row. Tariq arranges this with his revolutionary cadres.
  • Slav uses her magical powers to cause the next bacchanal to cause an incursion.

Revolution!

The doctored visions go out and the shit hits the fan.

The Paladins arrest the following:

  • Mary of the Bacchanals – untouched
  • Light-Splintered-Glass – ejected from council
  • Black Guard leader – executed
  • Black Guard leader – executed
  • Our Glorious Lady Pope Maji Lalin – executed in the streets
  • Councilman Drynn – ejected from council
  • Solar Church Archdeacon Many the Seedling’s – ejected from council and sent to a “remote” monastery.
  • High Elf Military leader “gnoll invasion level” – Lieutenant Radiant Word Scours the Sun.
  • Wicked Mr Alas’ lieutenant that is a demonologist
  • Leader of the “sky whales” – Gwennit Saint Grendel, drow dock foreman.

Some Black Guard are fighting the Solar Guard; most are working with them. The prisoners riot and attack.  Chaos reigns across the Spire.

The Vermissian Anatomosis causes some high elves to flee to the old country. But many high elves decide to stay and fight, stay and go native, or retreat to the various strongholds on the upper spire or Feather Island.

The Guard doesn’t fare well. Warden Langley goes into hiding. Commissioner LeVop runs and dies. The Guard disintegrates into precincts and smaller units with no leadership.

“Fortunate” Tamar Al-Nisr assassinates high elf mid level leaders who attempt to keep things organized, particularly those preaching moderation.

Abu Al-Nisr follows the mobs and assassinates leadership of anyone opposing the mob.

Order From Chaos

Lyddia ropes in Warden Langley to rebuilding the Guard into a drow police force. Their objectives are fighting fires and arson, making markets safe for commerce, getting food, water and other services to the public, and identifying the new political units forming (e.g. the Docks Union 4747 “Free Drow”).

Captain Wander-the-Lost, an high elf military man on the high council, revives from a deep depression to rally the troops and stabilize the Spire situation. Fortunate Tamar maneuvers to assassinate Captain Wander-the-Lost. Slav backs him up with an Evil Eye Curse.  The captain is a hardy and paranoid high elf, he survives the initial attack and deals Tamar several wounds.  But the captain dies nonetheless.

We leave off with the revolution largely successful, but only months to come will show how all the chips fall and whether the drow of the Spire will be free again!

Face Off

But all is not over. Lyddia changes reality with Anastomosis again – suddenly, everyone believes Tariq Al-Nisr died heroically leading the attack on Ivory Row to rescue drow from the clutches of the high elves and their human packs. It is said that his blood was so blackened from his many lovers that his assassins died immediately.  Beware the con man pretending to be the “real” Tariq.  The Ministry is collecting for the lovers and orphans of Tariq fund.

This is all in service of the prophecy that Lyddia would kill Tariq, so she is trying to fulfill the prophecy but gunning for the person-hood not the life of Tariq.

Tariq, unawares, goes the Rut and Wallow bar to confer with his allies. He is told, “How dare you wear that heroes’ mask!”  He chased from the bar and into the streets by an angry mob.

Abu finds out his brother is dead and someone is impersonating him. He finds the Tariq “doppleganger” and fires his crossbow volley style at him.  The doppleganger yells back, “It’s me, Abu!”  Tariq takes 5 Blood Stress before he convinces Abu that is really him. “Our brother Tamar is a retard!  Hyenas have two nipples!”  Abu is relieved that his brother is alive, but knowing that entire Spire thinks him dead, he recommends that his brother get a new identity.

Tariq goes to Therratrix whose powers include generating new identities. He gets one and vows to become Lyddia’s lover and screw her life up.

Spire – Session 9 – Operation Dreamweaver

surgeryIn The Meantime

One session’s notes are lost here as our drow revolutionaries got involved in some weird stuff. My notes include the phrase “Operation Home Alone 2: Lost In Derelictus,” something about a playhouse and a ghost, a bomb, and a group called Assassin Squad Green. I vaguely remember it being fun but that was some time ago.

Time To Die

Mr Winter, now a Ministry resource/employee, is under threat of assassination from the Morticians Guild. So, the coterie thinks thru some options to get that resolved, coming up with putting Mr Winter through Undead surgery… because by law executions and death sentences in Spire have no weight if the individual is already dead… and by definition Undying surgery is considered “death”.

Mr Winter is escorted to Heaven (a level of the Spire) by Lyddia Jath via the Vermissian Tunnels. They encounter weirdness along the way, including a drow violinist who claims that his constant violin playing is keeping Spire from collapsing.

The rest of the coterie (Slav, Abu, and Tariq) travel to Heaven separately where they arrange the Undead Surgery thru the licensed practice of the Morticians. Abu gets a lead on Doctor Ickabod Salard who lives in a war zone between fighting factions of Bee Druids, Blood Witches and Cats.

Doctor Salard turns out to be an elder drow whose enthusiasm verges on senility. He agrees to perform the surgery immediately, well, as soon as his assistant Monique says he’s done with the current patient.

The surgery is a success, though some of his organs have been replaced by Rust Spiders. We’ll leave that for the repo men to worry about.

Drow Fact Of The Day: The Ministry is a forbidden paramilitary religious sect devoted to overthrowing the aelfir.  All the PCs are members. Power to the people!

Blind Elf Orgies

The next subject is a Blind Oracle that is calling shots via visions for the Solar Guard’s Paladins, causing very accurate crackdowns on the Ministry.

Najlkae Gleefully Greets the Murmuration ritually blinded herself at 15 years old (she’s now 100 years old) during her stint with a cult of the old gods. Nothing came of that, she later joined the Solar Church who was able to deliver on the “powers”.  Her visions now come true.  And she went thru Undying Surgery.

Her patron is Marian Hears-The-Secret-Of-The-Sting, a well to do aelfir. Suspecting a Svengali situation, we investigate Marian via the Vermissian.

Four questions:

  • Where is she? She’s lives in the Solar District’s Solar Basilica in an estate that has Solar Clerics, magical defenses, mundane defenses, and servants.
  • Who has the greatest influence over her? She greatly admires one of the Councilman,  Minnie the Seedling.  His approval influences her decisions.  She also has a bevy of masked retainers that manager her day to day life, because she’s blind; they are dedicated to her.  Mr Collins, Mrs Dirty Shire, and Mr Arconstrik.
  • Whose in charge of her bacchanals? The church is divided into four groups.  The Father Summer and Sister Spring are the most powerful and popular.  Sister Spring is responsible for the celebrations; one priestess sponsored by Najlkae takes care of Najlkae’s bacchanals.  Mary Hears the Secrets of the Sting.
  • Who is Marian’s lover or husband? Sexless marriage to an Undying of a High Elf Lord.  She does maintain a sex life with a cadre of gnoll refugees living/imprisoned on her estate. This causes Tariq to only refer to her as “that gnoll-banger” going forward, causing friction with Abu who’s like “What’s so wrong with that?  Not that I did…. Quit looking at me!”

Tariq runs an investigation using his power to determine that Najlkae is allied to the resistance unwittingly. She unwittingly spends a lot of money that flows to the Ministry coffers.  And the dragnets that having been taking out Ministry people is also taking out anti-Ministry persons.

The coterie decides to start with the bacchanals. Slav is able to pass herself off a member of the Solar Church and get invited to the upcoming bacchanals. She and Tariq attend as a couple.

They find that bacchanal is “gnoll technology” fueled by “elf sex magic”. Basically, gnoll demon magic is collecting the elf sex magic. Everyone gets super drugged up. Slav and Tariq try to extra-drug-up Marian during the orgy.

Slav requests a “goblet of her blood” which Tariq delivers via “sex game”. From this she determines why Secrets of the Sting is interested in gnoll culture. My notes don’t record what that is, but I assume it’s more than just the sex (one would hope).

Spire – Session 8 – Operation Goodfellas

Pilgrims-Walk2Our revolutionaries decide to meddle in organized crime again since it’s gone pretty well so far.

The Wicked Mr. Alas has some key lieutenants:

  • Itz’bin, who’s in hiding now after a previous session
  • Gentle-On-Blinded-Orbs, a zen archer
  • Mr Jenarm, an assassin
  • Battle Socks (?)
  • The Peculiar Ms. Aldersham

Red Row crime leaders:

  • Allied with Mr Alas
    • Mommas Thinrees – back door surgery
  • Allied with Light-On-Splintered-Glass
    • Mother Moon – Gnoll female, fight pits, sports beating, an army of pit fighters, and a gang of gnoll males.
    • The Three Sisters – Three sisters who run drug trade. The oldest one marries for society and money; she has many children but no living husbands.  The youngest cooks the drugs, the middle one does the books.
    • Mr. Winter – extortion, weapons, kidnapping, smuggling.

Flip The Criminals!

We like Alas and have made Thinrees into an asset so it’s time to jack with Light’s crews.  We look more into Winter. His operation is a large foundry in the lower level ventilation shaft. It is fully operational with hordes of upper level craftsmen, drow, elf, and human, chained to their work stations. An overseer with a cat of nine-tails keeps them working.

Mr Winter is wearing a mask that is of Mother Winter, which Fortunate steals.

The group discusses what to do with the mask and hits upon a scheme where the mask is given to a Mother Moon pit fighter. Abu seduces and pays a friendly female gnoll to place it on her next opponents face, assuming he losses, then tea bagging him.  This fails.

Fortunate spies on Mr Winter long enough to see how he pays off Light-Splintered-Glass’ lieutenants. This leads to a bomb being placed on the dire raven flying the pay roll to Mr Winter’s boss.  This causing d8 reputation stress, which causes huge fall out with Light-Splintered-Glass and Mr Winter’s reputation within his own organization.

Kreth and Fortunate meet with Mr Winter and offer a helping hand. Kreth wears the Mask of the Lover to make this seem more like good fortune than black mail.  Mr Winter signs on with them for protection from Light-Splintered-Glass and a replacement of Light-Splintered-Glass’ up spire services.

Drow Fact of the Day: The Spire, the drow city, is a bizarre place, which grows weirder in the below-ground levels, but the whole thing is shot through with madness-inducing extradimentional passages known as the Vermissian.

Flip The Aliens!

We also look into some independent operators,

  • Brother Hellion – religious leader; he and his followers worship the gun.
  • Kowz – big strong elf who lives in the ruins atop a Vermission station
  • Stone-String-Grass-Green – operates Hemlock Fruit Market. Mr Alas wants Hemlock Fruit Market.
  • The Gentlemen – run L’enfor Noir Club. It’s a super high end brothel, gambling hall, drug den, and everything else. Corpses never come out of this place. They have weird technology, maybe they are clockwork? We decide that sounds like the most fun so we go after them in an operation we dubbed “Operation Mouse Garden Bouquet.”

Lyddia uses Glass Library to research their technology. It seems to be tied up in “He Who Waits Beyond the Coldest Flame” and the binding thereof.  The Gentlemen come from elsewhere, clock work constructs, who were created by the Khaat (a seven eyed race that drift and flow through our reality).  They have strange gifts.  The Khaat are refugees hiding from He Who Waits Beyond the Coldest Flame.  Khaat technology of reality bending clockworks is based on keeping that entity away.  The club is behind a ward.  The Gentlemen are their mouth piece to the Drow and others.  The Khaat are hedonists thus the club.  The corpses feed the ward and go back through.

One khaat, Snarf, is a friend of the revolution. The khaat feed corpses to HWHBtCF to keep that one sleepy. They magically find and kill people that HWHBtCF has contacted Great Old One style. The khaat need a laundry list of things from the Spire. All of it is weird.

The midwife locates Il’zer Shigo, a drow haunted by the supernatural after having glimpsed HWHBtCF, a likely Khaat target.  He shuffles around the slums in a bathrobe. A memory blank clears his supernatural problem.  They drag his unconscious form to a nearby rent-a-hovel, where Snarf appears to them.  The Khaat is like a weird ass cat. He’s impressed that we removed the He Who Waits taint without killing the guy. They successfully broker a treaty of mutual benefit between Wicked Mr Alas and Snarf.