Tag Archives: story hour

Blades In The Dark – Session 5

Fifth Session – A lot of different kinds of activity this session, without the frontal assaults that are our bread and butter.  Of course, our attempt to sneak blackmail material into a police inspector’s house to have some dirt on the Bluecoats goes south and there’s some shooting.

Delazia Finchester, of the Circle of Flame (cult), which is an underground subset of the Centralia Club (National Geographic Society style club), has been on Reis’ “get with” list for a while.  (In other words she’s the Emma Frost of the Inner Circle in the Hellfire Club, but less evil). They want some artifacts that sound exactly like the Vecna stuff – the eye of Kotor, the hand of Kotor, the head heart of Kotor… Reis talks everyone else into it, his primary motivation being that Delazia is hot.

So he summons a spirit, the Hand of Sorrow, to get information.  That starts going awry and we end up sacrificing Stinky Pete, our formerly-homeless hanger-on, to it. We are very careful to keep this both from Kraid and his player Tim, who missed the session, as they are both big Stinky Pete fans.

Then we go to trade that info to the Centralia Club and get unceremoniously shooed away by the doormen and a backup ghost.

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.

New Campaign – Spire

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Spire

Our newest campaign is based on the Spire RPG.  This is a cool high-concept game – we are all drow living in the Spire, which is a China Mieville-esque super weird giant tower where each level is a whole neighborhood.

But the elves have conquered it and keep us down as an oppressed underclass (along with their human lackeys).  Therefore, we foment rebellion! It’s like Vornheim meets Bas-Lag meets Menzoberranzan meets the Black Panthers and the IRA. Good stuff!

I recently read Melvin Van Peebles’ book Panther and racial politics are a big deal nowadays, so it’s interesting to explore it as a batch of privileged white guys.

Here’s our characters:

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    Firebrand

    Abu Al-Nisr (Paul), a carrion priest and clutch mate to Tamar and Tariq. He has a hyena to help devour the dead, as is only proper.

  • Tariq Al-Nisr (Me), a firebrand and clutch mate to Abu and Tamar.  He brought Slav into the revolution the old fashioned way, sexing her into radicalization.
  • “Fortunate” Tamar Al-Nisr (Bruce), a Bound and clutch mate to Abu and Tariq.  He rescued Lyddia Jath when she fell from the Perch.
  • Lyddia Jath (Chris), a Vermissian sage. She knows Abu’s secret, which is that he was captured by the gnolls and joined them in fighting the drow army.
  • Theratrix (Matt), a midwife. She saved Abu’s life during the war, not realizing he was fighting alongside the gnolls.
  • Slav (Patrick), a blood witch. She has tasted Lyddia’s blood and believes she’s fated to kill Tariq.
  • Krieth (Kat), a human emissary. Appeared briefly and was gone just as fast.  For the best, humans aren’t trustworthy.

The game system is pretty Apocalypse-y.  Our initial direction for liberating the Spire is to compromise the Hive, the big ass prison blocks, and use that to recruit people to overthrow the hated high elves!  Word of our adventures will come…

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The Spire (Aboveground)

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Fourteenth Session

waterspoutFourteenth Session (9 page pdf) – “Escape the Eye” – The shore team returns to the Araska, counts their loot, and sets their course for the Shackles. But a giant waterspout intervenes.

It’s just some giant lizard fighting and then they get back to the Araska with their prize.  But navigating the Eye of Abendego is no picnic, another waterspout bangs up the Araska.  I keep rolling hot on the random weather table.

Then they pass the Bloody Vengeance on its way to the Green Blood on Black Rock local monster fighting festivities! They seem interested so I’ll have more on that next time.

But then, another random weather roll…  How many 00’s can one set of dice hold?  It’s the largest waterspout possible, F5 style. Eek!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Thirteenth Session

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The Wendifa

Thirteenth Session (12 page pdf) – “The Key To War Machine, Part III” – An epic fight with juju zombies and a Wendifa (female witch doctor) has lasting effects as they scour the tomb for the amulet of the Terraken.

Bonus: Jitikai the Wendifa’s Character Sheet (pdf)

More dungeoneering, and then a fight with a Juju oracle! Voodoo all over the place; juju zombies, she zombifies and mind-controls party members.  Fun!  They even leave her alive… Kinda.

 

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Twelfth Session

Twelfth Session (8 page pdf) – “The Key To cannibalWar Machine, Part II” – Cannibals apparently infest the crypt, which in addition to normal crypt dangers keeps the pirates on their toes – and losing some, to the grinding bear traps all over the area.

It’s all sodden dungeon crawling with cannibals this session!  Still using “Tomb of the Necrophage” from Tombs of Golarion.

Easter egg – the cannibal’s chant of “Upote, maepote, maepu, maedepote” is from one of my favorite Karl Orff pieces, “De temporum fine comoedia“.

 

 

Freak Watch – Session Six

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Six Session Summary (3 page pdf)

Well, thanks to La Catrina teleporting her possessed mom inside the mansion, now Smorgascorpse himself is on the rampage.  Which is the silliest villain name ever.  But, he summons zombies, takes control of the ghost of Meriweather Lewis, yadda yadda. We execute a complicated plot including a “make the baby disappear like in Willow” gambit and eventually bust his lame skull up.

But, he’ll be back… Floating necromancer skulls are hard to kill.  We decide to go steal more bits for a ritual to put him away for good.  Paul randomly decides they’re at an abandoned amusement park in the Philippines.  Then we google it and find out there really is an abandoned amusement park in the Philippines named “Fantasy World” which is a great cover for an underground SKULL base.

But sadly, this is the last session summary.  We played another time or two and finished out the campaign, but Chris wanted to focus more on playing the game and less on the session summaries because so much of the game’s focus is the interpersonal relationships and personal journey of the characters, and session summarizing kinda gets in the way of interaction.  It’s easier for “long round” mechanics games like Pathfinder, but it can be hard to keep up and participate well in an Apocalypse type game.

Never fear, we all live, Kid Kafka gets turned back human and gets a big ol’ kiss from Teenage Vengeance Shadowblade! La Catrina and The Infamous Wasp make up and decide to be real heroes their own way.

I enjoyed playing La Catrina, the emo Hispanic teenage girl with various family ties. Masks is a good system, we are loving the various Powered by the Apocalypse games and how people can really mold them to suit the exact kind of feel they are looking for.  This campaign definitely came off as “Young Justice”-y and the teenage mind-changing and self-discovery, and the up and down relationships with peers and adults, were deeply hooked both into the roleplay but also the game mechanics in a very satisfying way.

Freak Watch – Session Five

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Five Session Summary (5 page pdf)

First, we go to the HQ of the Los Muertos motorcycle gang to call in a favor from Centipede. Then, Kid Kafka disappears into a cocoon.  And La Catrina’s mother gets possessed!

Finally, the group all comes together to fight a killer robot and bunch of goons trying to deliver an explosive statue.

I take a lot of joy in always using a different word for the Infamous Wasp’s name (Incredulous Wasp?  Inconsolable Wasp?) and arguing with him about race and gender politics. He basically is a black teen whose mentor (The Question) has become a Rush Limbaugh style radio host which La Catrina finds incredibly vexing; depending on the state of their relationship her reaction varies from gentle ribbing to “what is wrong with you, you Urkel looking pendejo.”

Freak Watch – Session Four

The Freak Watch continues their heroics!  See the campaign page for more.

Session Four Session Summary (3 page pdf)

Kid Kafka has a bad experience at a Denny’s (par for the course) and then when we find out Junior Musto is going to steal a hovercraft that Rory Limbo is building for the Atomic Skull, we decide to steal it first!

The Masks rules continue to balance us between superheroic action and teen interpersonal drama in an entertaining way.  And Paul takes with good humor our lack of knowledge of the fringes of the DC universe. (La Catrina keeps getting Lady Shiva mixed up with The Centipede because obviously someone named Lady Shiva would have multiple arms, right, it just stands to reason…)